Dowagiac honors largest group of freshmen for achievement
Published 10:35 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Judging by the number of freshmen occupying the tables and lounge chairs inside the media center at Dowagiac Union High School Tuesday morning, it appears more and more students are saying “YES” to academic excellence.
The school’s Youth Experiencing Success (YES) honored 51 members of its freshman class that morning for achieving all A’s and B’s in their courses for the first marking period. It was the largest batch of students that have received recognition through the program at single time, said YES organizer Doug Pearson.
By comparison, 38 freshmen were given the award this same last year, and 45 the year before that, Pearson said.
Union High School Assistant Principal Mike Churchill, who helped Pearson hand out the certificates to students that morning, attributed the growth of the program to improvements made to the learning atmosphere at the high school over the past year, he said.
“I was pleasantly surprised by a few of the faces who were here today,” said. “It’s a real positive sign.”
As with previous ceremonies, the freshman students honored that morning received more than a simple pat on the back from administrators. For the third straight year, the Dowagiac McDonald’s donated coupons for a free meal to students, with store manager and school board trustee Ronda Sullivan present at the ceremony to greet students.
McDonald’s was one of the first local businesses to jump onboard the YES Program, Pearson said. Other businesses that assist throughout the year are the local Pizza Hut, Burger King and Saylor’s Pizza.
“It’s a pretty big because kids recognize that not only does the school care about their academics, but the greater community as well,” Pearson said.
Pearson, a student advocate and mentor at the high school, started the program three years ago as way to honor students for their achievements in the classroom, in the same way that children are often lauded for their accomplishments in athletics or other extra circular activities.
“You never know what is going to motivate kids, so giving them the opportunity to be recognized is an important part of what we’re doing,” Pearson said.
Students recognized Tuesday were:
Edwin Linares Jr.