From sports to classrooms, THS students excel
To say that Tonganoxie High School was a busy and productive school during the 2001-02 school year would be an understatement. The breadth and quality of all activity at THS and the accomplishments of the students and faculty speaks well for the students and staff. Academics, fine and practical arts and extracurricular activities continue to expand as students seek out the opportunities to express their talents. The dedicated faculty continues also to provide new and challenging programs. The sum of it all should make the community proud of the accomplishments of THS students and teachers.
During any school day THS students may be engaged in activity ranging from building a home to designing a web page or preparing for the advanced placement chemistry or calculus tests. They may be enrolled in the new French class or experimenting with Palm Pilot technology. A career fair or Job Olympics readies them for the world of work. Students might be working to complete the required portfolio project before the deadline. They may also be focused on the Kansas math assessment in order to demonstrate competency under the new THS guidelines. Some may be listening to a science lecture on "smart board" technology. Still others are preparing for the state debate tournament, music festival or agricultural judging competition. These are just a few of the every day occurrences at Tonganoxie High School.
THS is usually a busy place during the evenings as well. After athletic practices many students may attend the ACT workshops which are held prior to this college entrance test. The Writing Club or Library Club may meet or take a field trip. Play practice is common as well as Dance Team or cheerleaders. Mr. Smith, the career counselor, may be holding a meeting to advise parents and students of career and educational opportunities. On weekends, the gym may full of fans watching volleyball, wrestling or basketball. THS is the focal point of much school and community activity!
The accomplishments of THS students are numerous and impressive. The debate continues to dominate the scene at the state level. Mr. Harrell's teams won a fourth consecutive state championship in four-speaker debate in Goddard. Too, several individuals will represent Tonganoxie at the CFL national competition in Pittsburg this summer and the forensics squad is set to compete at the state tournament at the time of this writing. Rounding out the fine arts program, the music department achieved a number of firsts this year including the Chieftain Singers, flute trio and several individuals receiving "I"s at the state music festival. This number of high ratings is the best in recent memory. This comes on top of a busy marching season, several great concerts, musical play, and individual accomplishments. It's all been done at the direction of Mrs. Steeby and Mr. VanMiddlesworth. Finally, art students worked with Mr. Lague this year to earn several awards at various competitions.
On a more academic note, the focus this year, again, is to raise those indicators of success in the classroom. As usual, many Tonganoxie students will receive scholarships from the college of their choice or local contributors. Too, the school has made a concerted effort to improve ACT test scores from previous years and the early returns are promising. The THS school improvement team also will target reading and math for improvement in the coming years as well as social science. It is expected that various test scores must reflect improved performance by students.
In co-curricular activity, the FCCLA par-law team, with Mrs. Lamb's coaching, won the state competition in Wichita and will represent Kansas at the national convention in Minneapolis in July. In other practical arts, Mr. Kraft's dairy and crop judging teams were first at the district competition and Mr. Hardy's trouble shooting team finished in the top 10 percent of all teams entered. The vocational programs continue to be a strong part of the curriculum!
THS athletes also excelled during the year highlighted by a second-place finish in the state cross country meet. Phil Williams has coached the squad to successful seasons before and is currently enjoying an excellent track season, as is Mr. Shaw's ladies' track team. Winning is the norm in these programs. Mr. Elston's football enjoyed a second consecutive winning season since his arrival and the boys' basketball team was sub state runner-up with David Walker at the helm. The wrestlers continued to build by finishing in the top three in six of eight tournaments. This program has made outstanding progress over the years due to Mr. DeWitt's dedication to the athletes.
More than 57 percent of all students at THS participated in athletics this year. That does not include the large number of students involved in music, debate, forensics, FFA or FCCLA and the various other clubs and organizations. THS students like to get involved!
The problem with writing about the school year is that it is impossible to describe all that goes on. This article doesn't begin to scratch the surface. It is not adequate to say that THS had a great year without recognizing all the good students and staff that make it possible. However, when they read this article they know I am talking about them.