#1StudentNWI: Hammond High Restoring the Roar

By: Clyde Stout Last Updated: October 10, 2016

Hammond-1Student-October-2016_04Visitation from State Superintendent Glenda Ritz
Recently, a very special and amazing event happened at Hammond High School. The Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz came to Hammond High to be the keynote speaker for Education Matters.

Education Matters is a coalition of Hammond-based organizations with the goal of building an army of advocates for public education in Hammond. Their mission is to empower all the stakeholders: home, school, community, and alumni to be proactive in promoting successes, addressing issues, and communicating ways to get involved in the school. Their vision is that every child in Hammond has access to a quality, public education.

The committee that created the event was composed of Donna Bernirschke, Carlotta Blake-King, Andrea Ginn, Joshua Long, Rocharda Moore Morris, Sylvia Planner and Kim Syler, and Dee Jones.

Glenda Ritz spoke for about 25 minutes and gave many valid points about the vision that she has set forth for the public schools in Indiana for the upcoming years.

She talked about the increase of CTE courses (Career & Technical Electives) within schools that have little to no CTE courses. She explained how more CTE courses gives the students that take those courses an automatic 95% chance of graduating which was very interesting.

Hammond-1Student-October-2016_03 She expounded on funding for schools in Indiana and how it is split between four categories of schools. Each school gets a certain amount out of the 52% that is given to school funding from taxes in Indiana.

At the end of her speech, she was able to do a Q&A, which consisted of selected students as well as any adulat in attendance. I was selected to be the spokesman for Hammond High School, and the question I asked her was: “What do you and the State Department of Education plan to do to increase the availability for CTE courses within our lower income schools.”

She explained how the school system in Indiana has been going through many changes and began to understand that education needs to cater to the student. She firmly believes that there should be more individualized assessments of each and every student which allows your capabilities to enhance at a rate which is comfortable to you.

She believes CTE courses make school more interesting because it give students a drive that the could possibly expand in whatever CTE course they are taking and prepare them to possibly have a future within that CTE profession.

Overall, the Education Matters program really worked hard in order to get her here and they did not disappoint. It was a great thing to witness her coming to our area to speak and listen to the opinions of anyone who was willing to to talk. I personally thank the Education Matters committee and Glenda Ritz for empowering the Wildcat County.

Hammond-1Student-October-2016_01Student Spotlight: Mariah Barren
When contemplating on choosing a student to spotlight, no one else seemed more deserving than Mariah Barren.

Mariah is a 17-year-old Hammond High School Senior. She was born May 10th, 1999 and has been a star student her entire life. As a high school student, she has a record of straight A’s every year so far. The highest GPA she has ever obtained was a 4.6 until she began attending a public school where the GPA scale changed. She attended St. Francis De Sales High School where she was ranked Salutatorian her freshman year and Valedictorian her sophomore year.

She moved and began attending Griffith High School her junior year of high school. She made her final destination to Hammond High School for her senior year. I chose to put her in the spotlight because of her perseverance and dedication to passing and exceeding standards.

Her favorite quote is, “Don’t stop when you are tired. Stop when you are DONE.” Mariah is a prime example of this quote. She makes sure she gets her work done, and she keeps on top of things. She is not afraid to ask her peers and teachers for help or anything she needs, which shows a lot of discipline. She even sacrifices time after school and her lunch to make sure she does the best she can on any assignment.

Hammond-1Student-October-2016_02 She defines this as being a part of her perfectionist characteristics. Mariah shared with me that she has always been doubted because of her humble personality. She hates to brag and believes that her own actions, accomplishments, and others should be what speaks for her validation. She does not believe that happiness comes from self-validation, but when others are able to step in and give testimony to her aid.

As I stated earlier, she perseveres to exceed standards and expectations.

She said, “I do not like to stop at good enough, and I will not do so until it's almost absolutely satisfying to do so.”

Perseverance is a fundamental key to being able to make your goals. Discipline is being able to do those things that might be tedious to accomplishments when going towards your goal. Mariah is a great example of someone who holds those two qualities. I had no doubt in mind when choosing her to be spotlighted.