Why would the anchor on the state’s most widely viewed newscast say that every school district should call and figure out what we are doing? Because the story was about 100% of the Central High School Class of 2018 being accepted to college. That’s right. 100%.
What’s happening in the Helena-West Helena School District is one of the best turnaround stories in America.
It hasn’t been that long ago that I wrote about the Marion School District coming down to J. F. Wahl Elementary School to learn what we are doing in our Academy of Excellence program which has students achieving at levels that, in some cases, exceed the state and national average. That program was recently featured statewide on KTHV Channel 11. Now, KATV is featuring the work being done down at Central High School to make sure we fulfill our mission to make sure that our students are fully prepared for life as responsible, productive, and caring citizens.
As the president of the board of directors, I couldn’t be prouder of our students, staff, administrative leadership, and board for the hard work that made this possible. And it serves as just another example of the resurrection of this school district. We are getting the job done. This entire community should celebrate this moment. It’s a great time to be a Cougar!
The work doesn’t end here. We have to sustain this success and build upon it. However, we cannot minimize the importance of this milestone. I have talked about we must change a culture. We must change the expectation and the reputation from one where achievement is the exception to one where it is the norm. This shows we are getting it done.
We have always had great things happening each day in our school district. That has been one of my mantras for years. However, when the great is widespread you know the environment is changing. Words cannot describe the joy I felt when I first received this news.
Frequently, our community has people who want to moan and groan about our community’s flaws. This community’s best days are ahead and the renaissance taking place in the Helena-West Helena School District provides us with the ray of sunshine that shows us we can be the best. The ingredients for success are here. We just need to stay focused on working hard and doing what provides the greatest good for the greatest number.
As I prepare to close this column, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this time to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. There is so much for which to be thankful. I have written extensively over the past year about the many things we have to be thankful for in our schools. I am thankful to the citizens of this community for providing me with the chance to serve and help to make our community a better place. I am thankful for my family. My son Collin has thrived the past year at Central and I am grateful to the staff who have worked with him and for the students who have become his friends. I am thankful for the positive experience that Gabriel is having. And words can’t say how grateful I am to Sandra for all she does to hold our home together so that I can serve.
There isn’t enough space to itemize everything for which we should express gratitude, and I must close. I hope each and every one of you have a great holiday. By the time we have another column, basketball season for the Cougars will be tipping off. Let me encourage you to be at the Central High School Gymnasium for our home opener on November 28.
Let me close out this column by congratulating the Central High School Class of 2018 for this additional example of the greatness that exists in the Helena-West Helena School District and for providing parents with another reason to join the excitement and enroll their children in HWHSD!
Until next time, GO COUGARS!