Schools deserving of congratulations
We have known for a while that schools in our area do a great job of educating young people, getting them ready for college or work or whatever life they choose after high school.

Now comes word that the national magazine, U.S. News and World Report, has chosen two of them for Bronze Awards as part of their recognition of “Best High Schools” in the country.

So, congratulations to Lincoln High School and Winterboro High School for the honor. It is no small achievement to come out on top in a group of 22,000 public high schools across the country. Students’ performance on achievement tests, their performance measured against expectations for average students and their readiness for college were among the factors taken into account for the award.

The Talladega County School System, under the leadership of Superintendent Suzanne Lacey, should take pride in the accomplishment of these two schools and satisfaction in knowing they are doing outstanding work getting our young people ready for the world that awaits after high school graduation.

Likewise, the Talladega County Board of Education should be proud of this national recognition for schools in the system they serve. And make no mistake about it; sitting on a Board of Education is all about service. They devote hours of their time to make the decisions and implement the policies needed to run a school system.

The teachers and administrators of the two schools also deserve our congratulations and appreciation for the work they do with students. They show up for work every day knowing that what they do can have a lasting impact on the lives our children.

It is not always easy. It is often frustrating. It takes hours and hours that the public doesn’t always know about to reach this level of achievement. But they do it, every day. They show up for work early, and they stay late to educate our children.

Lincoln High School principal Terry Roller cited a significant statistic from his school. In 2011, 93 percent of seniors at Lincoln were placed in two-year institutions, four-year institutions, or the military. His high school’s population includes almost 70 percent living at poverty level, often a telling indicator of academic difficulty. Instead of difficulty, however, LHS places 90 percent or better of its students in college every year.

“That’s amazing,” Roller said.

He’s right. It’s amazing and gratifying to know that in our community, our educational leadership and teaching staffs don’t let that stop them. They are determined to prepare their students for the next step, so they do.

We have offered deserving congratulations to political leaders, system-wide leaders, principals and teachers.

There is one group left to recognize. All that leadership and guidance is aimed at students. And those at Winterboro High School (recognized for the second time) and Lincoln High School have done the work, put in the hours and seen the reward. We congratulate those most of all, for they have earned the right to be proud of this achievement.

Winterboro principal Craig Bates noted that this award “means validation for what we’re doing. It is an honor to receive this.” He also offered his congratulations to Lincoln High School and made a point about the Talladega County System as a whole.

“Congratulations to Lincoln because I think it’s a testament to what we’re doing in Talladega County because two of our schools are on a national listing,” Bates said.

We agree. These two schools stood out this year. We believe that means the same kind of work is going on in other schools within the system, and students at those schools are benefiting from the same approach used in Lincoln and Winterboro. The real award comes when those students take what they have learned and use it to continue their journey toward success.

© 2012