Each year I have the privilege of congratulating nearly 1,000 graduates as they commence to the next phase in their life’s journey. It is so rewarding to be a small part of the accomplishments of our students, families, schools and community.
During convocation last August, we sent our employees off to begin the school year with a rewrite of the song, “Eyes on the Prize.” The lyrics included:
We have students who depend on you, to keep them focused and see them through . . . hold on, hold on. Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.
Thinking back over the school year, it is clear to me, that no matter our challenges, we have kept our eyes on the prize – the future of our kids.
Our students and schools certainly kept their eyes on the prize as:
- Approximately 75 percent of our seniors were offered academic scholarships from colleges and universities.
- Our graduates earned $55 million in scholarships to colleges, universities, and technical colleges.
- Wyandotte High School’s Zainab Dafalla and Washington High School’s Darion Stafford were named a 2016 Gates Millennium Scholars.
- Washington High School’s Air Force JROTC was recognized with the “Outstanding Organization Award” by the Department of the Air Force.
- Thousands of students participated in the district’s Battle of the Books and Math Relays competitions.
- Sumner Academy was named by the Washington Post as the most challenging school in Kansas.
- J.C. Harmon’s Robotics Team competed in the National FIRST Robotics Championship.
- Arrowhead Middle School was named a finalist for the 2016 Middle School of the Year, and named a 2016 High Performing School.
- Seven schools (Emerson, John Fiske, Mark Twain, White Church and W.A. White elementary schools, Argentine Middle School and Sumner Academy of Arts and Science) were recipients of the 2015 Challenge Award from the Kansas State Department of Education.
- Our board of education was recognized with a National School Boards Association Honorable Mention Magna Award for the Diploma+ initiative.
- Many, many students were recognized throughout the year for outstanding achievements in academics, athletics, music, and the arts.
It has certainly been a school year filled with accomplishments! I must say that we kept our eyes on the prize. Thank you students, teachers, families, and community! It is clear, that our focus is on what matters most to our future – our kids. Enjoy the summer and remember, “It’s Up to Us!”