When Lincoln County High School Principal Tim Godbey recently learned that the school had risen in state rankings from 195 out of 230 high schools in the state to 76 out of 230, his tears literally dripped onto his home dishwasher.
Godbey was doing dishes on a rare day off when Pamela Hart, district chief deputy of quality management, called him with the news. He and other educators in the know could not immediately share the good news with the public, but now that the information is public Godbey was able to hold a “State of the Class” address and awards ceremony Friday.
“Last year, I had to share some really gloomy news with you,” Godbey told about 225 members of the Class of 2013. “We were at the bottom. We were labeled persistently low-achieving. I told you we weren’t going to stand for that.”
As Godbey revealed the leap from 195 to 76 via a PowerPoint presentation, many students cheered and one shouted, “Moving on up!”
The Class of 2013 has also set a school record with its 19 ACT score average, the principal said.
“This is the first class to set a goal and meet it,” Godbey said. “I am proud of you. I am ecstatic.”
The principal acknowledged that community members have historically expressed a poor perception of education in Lincoln County, but people are expressing more positive opinions in recent weeks.
“You’re a big part of the reason why the perception of our school has changed,” Godbey said. “Now you can say, ‘I go to a school that is improving.’”
But even with the recent movements forward, the work at Lincoln High is far from done.
“I need you to encourage the juniors to outperform you,” Godbey told the seniors. “Help the sophomore class realize they are the ones who can get us to the top 25 schools in the state.”
The principal implored seniors to continue to work hard throughout the rest of the 2012-13 academic year, warning them that graduation is a privilege not a right. A key to each student’s success is not just setting goals, but also implementing concrete plans to reach those goals, he said. The principal emphasized that a goal without a plan is just a wish.
“I’m not Aladdin and I’ve never met Aladdin,” Godbey said. “I might ‘Dream of Jeannie’ but I’ve never met her.”
Godbey and other school staff members then awarded 72 of Lincoln’s 225 seniors medallions, a pen and a certificate for being labeled “college and career ready” in accordance with state benchmarks. The principal hopes an additional 135 seniors will qualify for similar honors before they graduate at the end of the school year.
Student Dakota Miracle, 18, of Waynesburg, spent hours of his free time designing the medallion using the skills he has acquired in the school’s computer numerical control (CNC) technology program. Miracle, a “college and career ready” senior, hopes to attend college for more CNC training when he graduates from high school.
Miracle said he was proud of his school for not accepting the persistently low-achieving label and wanted to create something memorable for everyone being honored.
“I feel really good about the steps Lincoln has made to move us forward,” Miracle said.