Over the past several weeks I have had the numerous conversations with students, parents, teachers and members of the community regarding our culture and community. Almost everyone I speak with has their own story about how Athena has been a place where they have had incredible opportunities to learn and grow. Each of you that I chat with share a different perspective that more fully and richly describes the true character of our students and staff. Although the events of a couple weeks ago have caused us to reflect, grow and improve our practice, it is clear that the vast majority in our community recognize that the actions and decisions of a few do not represent the whole. We will continue to work diligently to address all inappropriate behavior through increased security measures and our on going Positive Based Intervention Services (PBIS) efforts through a comprehensive effort to help all students grow in their understanding and ability to respond appropriately and proactively in the face of conflict. With that said, I want to highlight a handful of students and groups who exemplify the true character of our school and more accurately reflect what Athena and our student body is all about.
- Nearly 100 NHS Students Write Letters to Veterans: Earlier this week our National Honor Society students met as a whole group to take the time to write letters to military veterans at the Canandaigua VA hospital. Our NHS students must meet tremendously rigorous standards including over 60 hours of community service, a cumulative GPA of 88% during their time in high school and strong character references from multiple teachers. This group of students continues to go above and beyond as leaders and citizens.
- Legally Blonde: The Musical: This past Sunday our Music Department wrapped up the last of 5 shows spread over 2 weekends. The show represented months of work by nearly 100 students. Mackenzie Wright, Frank Messina, Sable Stewart and many more students headlined this incredible production. I watched it 3 times and found it riveting, hysterical and professional.
- Senior to Senior Dance: Vanhnida Chanthavong, the president of the Senior Class and other member of the class are currently organizing a Valentine’s dance at the Legacy Retirement home this coming Sunday evening. These incredible students are continually looking for ways to give back to the community and honor the residents at Legacy in this way.
- www.JobManifesto.com: Two Athena High School students, Clint Hoellrigl and Michael Lauria have worked diligently over the past year and a half with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy here at Athena to develop a online start up company called JobManifesto. THis company essentially brings employers and students together through on online common application process. They have received grant funding through the local chamber of commerce and their website went live this week.
- Advisement Mini Lessons: Every student has had the opportunity to engage with their teachers in various discussions and activities during classes and advisement in particular as we continue to discuss the difference between a bystander and an up stander. This process of learning together as a community, the skills required to more effectively respond to conflict, stress and behavior will continue in the weeks and month ahead.
- Dedicated Athletes: Our student athletes continue to excel through hard work and dedication. Our State Champion Bowling team continues to remain undefeated, with Bryce Hook currently the leading scorer in the entire county. Our track athletes continue to record personal bests every meet, with Brian Smith currently ranked as the 6th fastest sprinter in the nation and Keith Pease as one of the top ranked distance runners in the state. Our Basketball and Cheerleading teams recently honored excellent teachers during a Staff Appreciation Night. Many other incredible athletes on all of our teams continue to have great seasons.
Athena is an incredible school and community. Our students are forging ahead, becoming well equipped citizens who are pursuing college and career readiness with tenacity and determination. I continue to be proud of what our students are accomplishing and look forward to sharing more stories like these with you in the future.