Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Year-In- Review

In the spirit of the season, we thought we'd do a year-end wrap-up and highlight some of our favorite posts from this, our inaugural year.  If you missed them the first time around we highly recommend you take the time to read them now.  And please take a moment to share them.  We have a great story to tell, and it takes a village.

And so without further ado, we bring you our top ten posts of the year, in no particular order (just click on the title and it will link to the full post):

We like this post because it speaks so well to the entire University City Schools experience.  Each of our four 2013 Valedictorians attended U. City Schools beginning in kindergarten and stuck with us all they way through.  These bright students are a testament to the quality of education available in our schools, as well as the great experiences kids can have. They honor their classmates, some by name, and acknowledge that success comes in many forms. They clearly had a lot of fun writing and delivering this address, and that's awesome too.

We literally cringed the first time we heard our college counselor tell a group of parents that when people ask what she does, and she tells them she's the college counselor at UCHS, they occasionally respond with such ignorance as, "I didn't know kids from UCity went to college."  Seriously??!!  At this VERY MOMENT, while I am sitting here writing this blog, there are University City High School graduates studying for their finals at Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Bowdoin, Washington University, SLU, Purdue, Swarthmore, and dozens of other highly-ranked schools.  We have an image problem my friends, and it's going to take some effort to change this. Which leads us to...

Read it, share it, help us get the word out.  If we could profile each and every one of our newly-minted college students you would be amazed.  And, since we always have a new crop of young scholars to point in the college direction, check out the college visit programs offered by our guidance office.

We like this post because teachers.  We live in a crazy world where teachers get blamed for all kinds of things they have no control over.  They don't get the pay or the respect or the appreciation they deserve, and yet they keep coming back for more!  We have awesome teachers here in U. City, like those mentioned in this article who teach all day and grade papers all night and still have time to put in thousands of hours seeking to improve their teaching skills and join the ranks of the nation's elite.  And, since this post was first published, there have been a bunch more willing to take on the National Board challenge! Our teachers rock. You should thank them.  And bake them some cookies.

OK robots.  If you are a regular reader of our blog, you may have suspected that we have a slight bias towards them, and you'd be right.  We've written about them here and here and here.  We love them, and we know that the world is going to need more and more scientists and engineers, so the more kids we can introduce to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields the better. Robotics are fun and exciting and programs are available to U. City kids from kindergarten through high school.  Our robotics programs succeed in no small part thanks to volunteers, and we have have a lot of them, which is a great thing on it's own.

The Missouri Association of Middle School Principals says our Middle School principal, Dr. Jamie Jordan, is the best in the state.  In. The. State.  Booyah!

About 700 of the 1.6 MILLION students who take the ACT every year get a perfect score. In 2013, 29 of those perfect scores came from Missouri students. One of them was UCHS senior Dan Politte.  We also had National Merit Finalists and even a National Merit Scholar.  What do each of these superheroes of academic awesomeness have in common?  They each attended U. City schools all the way through, starting in kindergarten.

UCHS currently offers about 13 Advanced Placement (AP) classes (some are offered in alternating years, like AP Chem and AP Physics), and is always considering adding more. AP classes challenge students academically, prepare them for college-level curriculum, and give them the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.  It is not uncommon for a UCHS grad to start college with a full semester of credit under their belts, thanks to our AP programs. And, the students who take the classes get to do really cool stuff, like participate in studies to identify cyanogenesis in white clover. Don't know what that even is?  Better read this post.

Our Amazing Students

Ok maybe we're cheating here, but choosing 10 posts from the nearly 75 that we've posted this year was really hard, so we'll just highlight a few of the kids we've highlighted over the past several months.  Like UCHS Student Deja Bowie, 2013 recipient of the UMSL Distinguished Achievement for Excellence in Science Award, known to her teachers and classmates as "Quiet Einstein."  Or young Xavier Morgan-Gillard, who overcame personal challenges, used his experiences to write an awesome essay about Jackie Robinson, was honored at Busch Stadium, and inspired us all with his courage. And then there's artist Marina Claunch,  admitted to the prestigious pre-college program at the San Francisco Art Institute. Or how about Jazz St. Louis All-Star drummer Zach Morrow? Or the UCHS Latin students who consistently win awards at the state convention and on the National Latin Exam?  And then there are the multitudes of students who serve the community in the Brittany Woods National Junior Honor Society,  our middle school celebrity, pint-sized pundit Gabe Fleisher, and freshly minted Eagle Scout Michael McMahon. (Just to name a few).

So that's it, our unscientific wrap-up of our favorite posts of the year.  We hope you've enjoyed reading about just a few of the terrific things going on in our schools, and we encourage you to keep on reading and to share with your friends and neighbors.  Comment on a post or two, "like" us, subscribe to our blog and help us get the word out about all of the good things University City Schools have to offer. It really does take a village!

Our very best wishes for you and yours in the new year!

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