Dowagiac Union Schools welcomes back students for new school year

Published 9:00 am Friday, September 1, 2023

Dowagiac — After a summer away, students from across the area returned to school this week for the 2023-2024 school year.

In Dowagiac, Dowagiac Union Schools students have jumped into the new year ready to learn.

“The first few days have been very energetic and full of excitement,” said Union High School Principal Kelly Millin. “The energy is positive and the students and teachers alike are feeling refreshed and ready for a new school year, so I’m excited.”

Millin said the high school’s goals for the school year include meeting instructional goals on the academic side as well as working with families and students on attendance

“We really looked at our attendance procedure and want to give them a little more personal touch with calls going home and just moving away somewhat from the automated calling,” she said. “We’ll still have that but we did put in a little more personal touch, so I’m hoping that that has a good, positive impact on our attendance, which can always improve.”

In addition, Millin said another focus is to maintain a positive school spirit and credited the student senate, Chieftain Heart students and advisors for helping to keep the spirit strong.

“I really anticipate a good, strong year of school spirit, which translates into good, positive measures and behaviors within the academic day, too.”

Instructionally, Millin said the school has added to its programming, including the addition of welding and construction to its slate of Career and Technical Education courses.

“In an instructional sense, that really allows us to take some of the flexibility that the state has worked into the Michigan curriculum and expand on that,” she said. 

The achievements of recent Dowagiac graduates Caleb Murphy (℅ 2018) in the National Football League and Jacki Winchester-Jones (℅ 2019) in the NFL as a Detroit Lions Cheerleader has both the district and the greater Dowagiac community buzzing with energy heading into the school year.

“We talk about dreams, we talk about post-secondary plans, and we talk about working hard. I think it just really proves that dreams can come true,” Millin said. “The hard work pays off and I know that Caleb reflects back and does have good positive things to say about the staff, the students, the community and just how they have helped shape and build him. That’s a success story; he’s earned it. Post-secondary success, that’s what it’s all about. Whatever that looks like for each kid, whether you wanted to be an NFL star or not. What does your success story look like? It’s always good when we are able to show those success stories.”