Scholarly students conduct excellence


JD Engle, drum major, conducting the marching band at the Rockwood Reservation competition, Aug. 23; Justin Armfield, forward, keeping the ball from a Kirkwood player, Sept. 5; Nick Vogl, Kate Dyson and Andrew Guardia performing a scene from Young Frankenstein at dress rehearsal, Nov. 4.

The Student Recognition Committee, a group of faculty led by Mr. Brad Klages, 11th grade principal, and Mrs. Jenni Highfill, World Language Department chair,  has implemented a new program to recognize upperclassmen who have shown a high level of commitment to sports, music or theater while maintaining a high GPA.

“Students who fulfill the requirements for the program work really hard and are dedicated to what they do,” JD Engle, applicant for scholar musician, said. “As a drum major, I lead the band. You have to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and think ahead to anticipate problems that the band might have.”

The committee has been in place since the spring and is responsible for recognizing students who excel, such as the recognition of students for various achievements over the Monday announcements.

“Mr. Klages and I started the committee because we wanted to recognize students,” Mrs. Highfill said. “We wanted to hold kids up as models for other kids so they have something to aspire to.”

Various awards from external organizations recognize students in their particular activities, as well as making all-district, all-state or all-conference in their activity.

“Students might get recognized by their teams, but often the student body is unaware of their accomplishments,” Mr. Mark Mosley, varsity softball head coach, said. “This is a different way to make sure students are more visible to the school.”

Students involved in sports or music can receive an honor cord for their achievement, as well as a letter for a letterman jacket for sports or band, though theater utilizes neither of these methods of recognition.

“The honor cord program is a very visible method of recognition for graduates who have participated throughout their high school careers, and I think it encourages them to stick with something, which is an important life skill,” Mr. John Arata, band director, said. “To letter in band students have to be more involved in some of our extracurricular activities, which is a little different than the academic combination that we see in the scholar musician program.”

To be recognized as a scholar musician, students (juniors or seniors only) must have participated in the same musical groupfor three years and attended three solo and ensemble festivals, as well as maintaining a GPA of at least 3.5.

“We want to recognize students who have high grades as well as a high level of achievement in a particular activity,” Mr. Arata said. “All they have to do is enroll and participate in solo and ensemble festivals, which does require a significant amount of time. Individual achievement is key.”

Recognition for scholar musicians also includes students in choir or orchestra.

“I find students who participate in solo and ensemble festivals and receive good grades are highly self-motivated,” Mr. Arata said. “The requirements for this recognition require so much of students that it is an implication of self-motivation.”

For recognition as a scholar thespian, juniors or seniors must have participated in eight consecutive Eureka Theatre Company productions.

“There’s recognition within theater itself, like awards at the end of the year or induction into the International Thespian Society, but there’s really no school-wide recognition students in theater receive,” Hanna Reinkemeyer, applicant for scholar thespian, said. “To fulfill the requirements, students have to be extremely dedicated to the theater company.”

ITS membership is based on the number of hours spent dedicated to theater, while the scholar thespian program looks at the number of consecutive shows students have participated in. To join ITS, students must have experience as an actor and technician, while the scholar thespian program does not require this variety in participation.

“Students who fulfill the requirements are extremely involved and have dedicated themselves to theater as opposed to just dabbling in it as a hobby,” Ms. Susie Allmendinger, theatre director,  said. “I think especially for things like music or theater, this program is a good idea because a lot of those kids do not get recognized.”

Students applying to receive recognition as a scholar athlete must have participated in the same sport for three years while also maintaining the mandatory GPA of 3.5.

“I think athletes have to be well-rounded,” Mr. Mosley said. “It’s not just talent, though that is obviously a part of it. We’re looking for upperclassmen who have been playing their particular sport for while so that you see their continuous growth.”

The GPA requirement was chosen because of the requirement for National Honor Society, which is also a 3.5, according to Mrs. Highfill.

“Students that are involved in extracurricular activities and that are connected to their school do better,” Mrs. Highfill said. “They do better academically. It is an indicator of future success, and it provides a sense of community and makes high school a better place to be.”

Studies have shown that student’s academics are positively affected by involvement by extracurricular activities according to the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988.

The activities chosen to be recognized were chosen because they are sanctioned by Missouri State High School Activities Association, according to Mr. Klages.

“I would like to see students excelling in other activities recognized, as well,” Lucas Kupfer, chess club member, said. “Other activities like chess can enrich your life and improve your academics.”

MSHSAA also sanctions the following high school activities offered at EHS:

  • Bowling
  • Chess
  • Music Activities (such as choir, band and orchestra)
  • Scholar Bowl
  • Speech and Debate (MSHSAA categorizes theater under this category)
  • Spirit Activities (cheerleading)
  • Various sports, including baseball, basketball, field hockey, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling

“There are more things to come from the student recognition committee and there will be changes to this program,” Mr. Klages said. “The Student Recognition Committee wants to do a good job on one thing rather than do a mediocre job with a lot of things.”

Applicants who will receive recognition through this program will be invited to a breakfast for all scholar athletes, musicians or thespians, as well as a t-shirt and certificate, though the rewards for those being recognized is still in the works, according to Mrs. Highfill.

“We want kids to be involved in and out of the classroom,” Mr. Klages said. “A lot of kids do one or the other, but it takes a lot of time to do both and a lot of life skills that they’ve learned in the classroom as well as other activities.”

Applications for the program can be found in the junior/senior office and were due, Friday Nov. 15.

“I think the award fits someone who tries to achieve as much as they can,” Engle said.

The Student Recognition Committee will release the names of students to be recognized next week and the breakfast for the students is set to be Dec. 9.

“We want to take an opportunity to recognize these students who have done well,”  Mrs. Highfill said. “It may not be the star of the play, but it is someone that is committed and gives all of that time while maintaining a high GPA.”