Great schools rewarded with students’ hard work

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nine schools in Alabama have recently been named to Newsweek magazine’s list of the nation’s top high schools. Not surprisingly, two schools in Shelby County, Oak Mountain High School and Spain Park High School, are among those receiving the distinct honor.

The pride and excitement that comes with being listed in Newsweek is something we all can share and celebrate, but we have not all shared in the hard work, planning and sweat required to make it so.

Parents who supported students and made education a priority at home, teachers who challenged and guided students to accomplish and learn more than they otherwise would have, support personnel who created an environment conducive to learning and excellence, administrators who made resources available and hired and trained some of the nation’s finest teachers, and students who worked hard to take full advantage of the opportunity given them deserve the credit for what Newsweek has recognized and what many of us already knew.

It is apparent those at Oak Mountain and Spain Park don’t believe in just being ‘good enough’ or in the personal philosophy of ‘getting by.’

No, those responsible for making Oak Mountain and Spain Park exceptional learning institutions seek excellence, and in doing so, they make our community an even better place to live, work and worship.

All the celebration, pomp and circumstance deserving of such a great accomplishment should follow. But, the true reward for being among the best high schools in the nation does not come through a trophy on a shelf or plaque on a wall. It comes through the lives students who walk down the halls of Oak Mountain and Spain Park will lead and the differences they will make in the lives of those around them. That, in my mind, is truly worth celebration and is something from which we all will reap rewards for decades to come.