Community Interest

NEWBERRY and ALACHUA – Newberry High School (NHS) and Santa Fe High School (SFHS) were recently recognized by “The Washington Post” in an article ranking America’s Most Challenging High Schools.

NHS ranked at number 1348 out of nearly 2,300 high schools nationwide and SFHS came in at 1382.

According to the Post, the rankings are based on the number of college-level tests given at a school in the previous calendar year divided by the number of graduates that year.

Other factors include the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies, as well as the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during high school.

NHS principal Ken Purvis attributed the recognition to the hard work teachers and students put in.

“It just kind of validates how hard we’re working even though we’re a small school,” he said. “In today’s education world – how tough it is [and] how much negative publicity we get – it just kind of validates how hard schools and teachers are really working for the success of all students.”

He also described the atmosphere at the school as close-knit, which is important to show the students', as well as the teachers’ and staffs’, commitment to excellence.

Linda Woodcock, a member of the school advisory council at NHS said the achievement is a culmination of everyone’s effort – administration, counselors, media and even the food service professionals – who work to make the school great.

She also praised their strong athletic program.

“Students this year have excelled at local, district and state levels in numerous divisions, and with huge community support they continue to serve the school proudly,” she stated.

Elizabeth LeClear, the principal at SFHS, said she was thrilled when she heard about the ranking.

“I kind of feel like we’re a gem,” she said. “And it’s just nice to see that other people are seeing that.”

She said some of what the school is doing right includes targeted instruction, as well as sufficiently preparing students for college.

She said the school has also received support from volunteers, whom often take out time from their schedules to stop by the school and help out when they can.

She said she was also excited to note that Santa Fe High School ranked number 2,235 out of over 21,000 schools nationwide on 2016’s list of Best High Schools for the “U.S. News and World Report.”

#     #     #

Email Korrego@