Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

Where has the year gone?

It seems that only yesterday we were all busy with the opening of school. The students eagerly awaited to see their friends again, the seniors began their final 180 school journey, and teachers and parents welcomed the routine of a new school term. How quickly time flies.

Football and softball offered excitement for our school as both teams advanced, yet once again, to the state playoffs. Our girls’ softball even advanced to the state championship game. Who could forget Abi Gibson dramatic 7th inning home run to put the Lady Chiefs in the championship?

As school was beginning, the entire school came together to recognize the special relationships we have each other. After the death of their classmate Andrew Archer last spring, the Class of 2015 coined the hashtag “Not Just a School But a Family" as they supported each other through that time. To build on that theme, all students, K-12, received wristbands imprinted with #NJASBAF to remind us daily that life is short and that it takes family to help navigate the ups and downs we all face.

In October, we learned that Magnolia Heights School would be recognized by Apple as one of only two schools in Mississippi as an Apple Distinguished School. The school would be honored in a special event in January attended by Mississippi House Speaker Phillip Gunn. This special recognition is reserved only for schools that demonstrate visionary leadership, innovative learning and teaching, ongoing professional learning, compelling evidence of success, and a flexible learning environment. MHS was the only school in Mississippi recognized as such this year.

Over the Christmas break MHS, Entergy, the Mississippi Development Authority, Forza Energy. and Dowdle and Powell began a capital project which would ultimately replace the school's aging HVAC system and replace all lighting fixtures on the campus with new energy efficient LED lighting. This project will not only lower the school's annual cost for electricity and save on maintenance, but also qualified the school for a $52,000 check from Entergy Mississippi. The faculty, staff, and administration also will enjoy new HVAC system for their comfort and increased illumination for an optimum learning environment.

As first semester ended and basketball began in earnest, Chief basketball teams began their quest to return to state championship games. In February, our Chiefs won a 2nd consecutive state championship and advanced to the Overall Final 4 for the first time in over 15 years although eventually falling short by a few ticks of the clock.

Throughout the second semester our 10th-grade Projects class partnered with the first and second-grade students, and together developed “stop animation” and “green screen” projects. What a wonderful example of our older students bonding with and mentoring the younger ones.

In March, our Chief Baseball team began their quest for an unprecedented 4th consecutive state championship. When the dust had settled; they had indeed won their 4th in a row, 5 out of the last 7, and 6 over the last 10 years - a remarkable achievement.

All the while, from science fairs and spelling bees to art contest and achievement tests, second semester wound down. In May, the Class of 2015 was honored at Senior Awards Night where 52 out of 52 graduates received a college scholarship offer. All in, all over $6 million was offered to the Class of 2015. Among the many offers were academic and athletic scholarships, and an appointment to the US Air Force Academy.

Last night was commencement and Dr. Darrell Sneed, MHS Class of 1994, was the commencement speaker. He challenged the students to persevere through the ups and downs of life, and as they write the chapters of their book of life to never forget to seek God's will and direction. The Class of 2015 will always be remembered for their indomitable spirit, unwavering courage in the face of adversity, and never-ending commitment to each other, which reminds each of us that we are indeed “Not Just A School But A Family.”

The new school year will bring changes. We are saddened that Allyson Mitchell, Gayle Braswell, Keith Godbold, Olivia Lunceford, Paige Norwood, Nancy Warren, and Skye Westmoreland will not be back with us. We wish them well in their career moves and retirement. However, we are also excited about the new members of our family as we transition over the summer.

As with this year, time will pass quickly and before you know it, we will be back in session again. There are many new and exciting things on tap for next year. From MacBooks for our 7th and 8th graders to STEM and robotics classes in elementary and secondary, Magnolia Heights will continue its momentum to be the best it can be. With the continued support of our parents, teachers, administrators, and students, I know we can. After all, we are “Not Just A School, But A Family!”