Elizabethton High School students setting standard for education

Published 5:08 pm Friday, May 25, 2018

If the work being churned out from Elizabethton High School is a sign of things to come, then the future of the area is in great hands.

With my focus being on the city side of the area, having the opportunity to witness the various projects and ideas coming from the school has been a welcomed experience to be part of from a journalist level.

High school can be a tough time for students, especially in today’s society. With an ever-changing landscape, from technology to sociological issues, the things students are learning now, even compared to when I graduated eight years ago from Hampton, are astronomical.

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With so many items to digest in the classroom, it is important to keep students’ interest and excitement for learning — and that’s a route the educators and administrators have been able to take at the school.

Take the 2018-19 year for example. EHS recently had the opportunity to recognize students in a variety of ways, ranging from academics and athletics.

The class of 2018 received more than $2.4 million in scholarships while raising over $40,000 in fundraising initiatives. This year even included a West Point appointee, a Roan Scholar and the creation of a Criminal Justice Award to recognize the late Todd McKeehan.

Whether it’s academics, performing arts or athletics, the staff at the school is continually encouraging students to take that extra step and reach for their dreams, while giving them a fun route to pursue it.

And from an academic standpoint, a crowning achievement took place this year with the school wrapping up the inaugural year of its Bartleby program — an XQ America award-winner project that received national attention.

This past school year saw EHS implement two new classes — Entrepreneurship and Community Involvement. Community Involvement took place during the first semester and students were able to hit the ground running with various businesses and community organizations to tackle different projects in Elizabethton and Carter County. Some of the most notable projects included work on the Elizabethton Walking Tour — which highlights different historic markers within the city — and the creation of murals on the walls of different downtown businesses to add color to the area.

Bartleby ended the year with a bang thanks in part to the entrepreneurship students taking the bull by the horns and creating their own businesses. With assistance from local business leaders, five businesses were created and are in the process of being profitable thanks in part to the work from the class.

During a recent “pitch night” at T.A. Dugger, Bartleby director Terry Smith told the crowd that the work from the school hasn’t gone unnoticed. When the school was named a “Super School” by XQ America, they were able to receive a $200,000 award from the program, along with scholarships being awarded to sociology students that helped come up with the idea. The same sociology class is working alongside multiple police departments in the state, and surrounding states, to bring closure to a strand of murder cases from the 1980s.

Smith said that XQ America was impressed with the system doing so much over the past year, and only using roughly $2,000 to $3,000 of the award money for projects. Due to the system and students’ efforts, ECS is in line for multi-million dollar grant opportunities to further the Bartleby program at the school, including the creation of an amphitheater at the school’s entrance.

From the grade school level to EHS, students, teachers and administration deserve a tip-of-the-cap for their efforts. With uncertainty looming from testing to the development of society, Elizabethton students are leading the charge to implement a bright future of the area.