Webster County High School math teacher Jason Williams watches as a student completes a math problem. Despite an enrollment of just 121 students, WCHS was recently named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School, the only Georgia high school to receive the designation. (Submitted Photo)
PRESTON — Webster County High School has only been in existence for just more than five years and has an enrollment of just 121 students. The county’s elementary, middle and high schools share the same building. Despite the system’s size, or lack of it, Webster County High is one of just eight Georgia public schools and the only Georgia high school recently chosen for the 2013 National Blue Ribbon Award.
The award honors schools for helping students achieve at high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.
“The students are great. The faculty is great. As overwhelmed as I am about the Blue Ribbon Award, I have felt since the beginning of my tenure as Superintendent that we had a good school system,” said Janie Downer. “Webster County High School is in its fifth year. We have made and will continue to make academic gains. Our focus is on learning and we truly embrace the absolute necessity of producing an educated society. The school system is small and funding continues to decrease but nothing can and should compromise our primary objective – providing our students with a quality education.
National Blue Ribbon Schools are chosen based on two categories: High Performing Schools and Exemplary Improving Schools. Highest performing schools are measured by state assessments or nationally-normed test in reading/English language arts and mathematics. The award committee also looks at schools with at least 40 percent of their students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and have made the most progress in improving student performance on these state and nationally-normed tests.
Webster County High School will celebrate its fifth graduation ceremony in May 2014. Downer says each year marks a milestone for WCHS’s accomplishments and for establishing traditions in academics and athletics. The administration, faculty, and staff are proud to have been recognized for this honor. It is a joy to work with these young people each day as they endeavor to rise above their circumstances and achieve their goals.
“For me, the neat thing about Webster County High School is the goodness and kindness in the overwhelming majority of our students,” Downer said.”With attitudes like theirs, great things are going to happen.”
Downer added that next month, an administrator and a high school teacher will travel to Washington for the Blue Ribbon recognition ceremony.