By: Allison Slusher
Oak Grove has received many honorable awards in the past including three National Blue Ribbon School awards, a Top High School award by Red Book Magazine, and a Lantern Award from the Mississippi Department of Education. Most recently, however, Oak Grove High School was named a Star School.
The Star School award has only been around for the past three years and honors a school that has reached the highest level of academic achievement through test scores, met a required graduation rate, shown growth within the student population, and made over a 200 on the Quality of Distribution Index (QDI). While the high school has not received this award before, it has come close in years past by missing the award by only one of the various qualifications, but it has now managed to meet all of the qualifications in one year. Oak Grove was given the award during the summer, but the award didn’t become public until mid-September.
In order to congratulate the students on the honor, the administration decided to host a celebration day on October 14th. The day’s activities included a cookout, games on the football field, and a DJ. The PTO even provided t-shirts for the teachers for the day’s festivities. The celebration’s intent was to recognize the students on their job well done throughout the previous school year.
Now that the Star School festivities are over, Mr. Folkes is looking ahead and encouraging the student body and faculty to achieve the award again next year. “It says a lot about our students to go to a Star School. It says a lot about our faculty who encourage and motivate every day,” Folkes said. There are many things the administration is doing in order to ensure Star School status this year including looking at areas of concern such as low test score areas, comparing the pre and post tests for academic growth, and looking to see what the school did effectively last year in order to have the same success again next year. “I think that the expectation is now there, and we have to step up to achieve that. Everyone has to pull together,” Folkes said when asked what he would say to encourage the student body to achieve the award for a second time.
Mr. Folkes now knows what Oak Grove High School’s student body and faculty are capable of, and he is hopeful that both groups will keep working hard and stay on board with the task of receiving the award again next year. “Warriors thrive on success and will accept the challenges in front of us to continue to achieve,” Folkes said.