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Neighbors

Students’ futures are more than a test score

Patrick Halloran
Patrick Halloran

I was given an article the other day by one of our substitute teachers, Charles Birch, highlighting a letter sent home to parents around standardized test-taking time. The main point of the note was to remind students and parents that a test score doesn’t reflect the whole child – their potential, gifts, talents, etc.

So I Googled “more than a test score” and was a bit surprised to find blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and even a line of products including clothing and coffee mugs. The topic caused me to reflect on the students at Morris Community High School and the multitude of successes they achieve outside of the current spring testing window. I want to share some of those achievements in this article.

Part of our mission as a school district is to provide opportunities for students to achieve academically, personally and socially. The merits of extracurricular activities are well-documented and in many cases play an important role in the development of a well-rounded young adult. MCHS commits significant resources to provide a variety of opportunities for students, and our staff does a tremendous job at dedicating the time and effort needed to provide quality student experiences.

MCHS offers 17 clubs and organizations and more than 20 Illinois High School Association activities. Recent estimates indicate that somewhere between 75 percent to 80 percent of our students are involved in at least one extracurricular activity. The combined rosters of the IHSA activities total nearly 750 students. The students and faculty involved in these programs devote a tremendous amount of time and energy because they realize the value and long-term benefits associated with participation. The memories and friendships created through teams and clubs often last a lifetime.

Student achievements are recognized when faculty members submit a “Pause for Applause” recognition that is read over the intercom and also at the monthly Board of Education meeting. This year, 152 students have been recognized and 59 teams or groups! Some of this year’s accomplishment include 49 championships, either individual or team, and countless Top 10 finishes.

The fall play and spring musicals involved a combined 128 students, faculty and community members who performed awesome, standing ovation-worthy performances. MCHS choirs produced All State performers in Madison Colasanti and Michael Kren. The Guard program earned six first-place divisional finishes and is emerging as a successful student opportunity. Students in Industrial Technology and Family and Consumer Science won multiple awards for their talents. The MCHS Mathletes won the regional contest and will be competing at state at the University of Illinois on May 7. The Envirothon team placed first at the regional and will compete in state as well.

The MCHS volleyball team brought home a regional title before falling in the sectional finals. Cody Baldridge placed second in state at the 2A IHSA State wrestling finals. The Pom team brought home the second-place hardware for their efforts in the IHSA Competitive Dance competition. Nick Bonomo advanced to the state golf tourney and the girls tennis team won the sectional, advancing to the state tourney last fall. The Speech team continued their winning ways, bringing home regional and sectional titles on their way to state competition as well, with Emily Trader placing sixth in the state.

Of course, there are many more examples of success too numerous to mention here – a lot of time, talent, and energy representing Morris Community High School.

We are knee-deep in testing this spring, and we all understand the value of measuring student progress and achievement. The accomplishments of the MCHS students are a great example and way to remember that young people are certainly “more than a test score.”

• Patrick Halloran is the superintendent of Morris Community High School District. Community Pulse is a weekly column that provides a dedicated space for Grundy County-area nonprofits, schools, organizations and sometimes Morris Herald-News staff to share news and information about their organization.

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