With college and work preparedness becoming a more prominent issue and talking point in public education, Denison Independent School District recognized its graduating seniors who earned the Texas Scholar Award on Wednesday in an annual picnic. The award recognizes students who went beyond the basic requirements for graduation and earned college credit while in high school.
“It is important to recognize (the students) because this is special,” Denison High School Principal Cavin Boettger said. “They are doing more than they have to.”
Of the nearly 260 graduating students, 106 were recognized as Texas Scholars for their achievements above and beyond the requirements for a high school diploma. The students who received the award were treated to a hamburger picnic in Loy Park at the livestock arena, sponsored by the Denison Education Foundation and Denison Chamber of Commerce. The picnic was also attended by District administrators, local community leaders and members of the Denison business community.
Boettger and Superintendent Henry Scott presented the graduating seniors with the medals, which will be worn at commencement in June. To receive the award a student must graduate on a high school’s distinguished or recommended plan and complete two measures which can be fulfilled by passing an Advanced Placement, dual credit, or early technical credit course, which gives the student credit which will transfer over to local colleges.
As the presentations concluded, Boettger reminded the students that, while they may be near the end of their high school career, they still must finish the rest of their classes for the day, much to the chagrin of the students.
While many traditional courses that give college credit were recognized in the program, it also gives credit to job skills and tech courses for students who may not be college bound, said Bob Taylor, past chairman for the Chamber Board. The award recognized students who passed courses in criminal justice, health occupation, child development and other technical and career skills courses. Taylor said he attributes the relatively large percentage of students who were recognized with the award to the large number of programs and topics that the District teaches.
Taylor said he hopes the students who receive the award inspired other students to follow in their footsteps.
“These kids earned college credit while in high school,” said Taylor. “We want more kids to take the high road.”
Miranda Poe, a senior who will be attending Texas A&M in the fall to study pre-dental, received college credit for English and biology classes that she took during high school. Despite her successes at the high school level, Poe said she is ready for the next step.
“I enjoyed high school, but I am excited for the journey ahead,” said Poe.
She said that she wanted to get college credit in high school because it is cheaper than taking them on a college campus. “It speeds you up on the process of college,” said Poe.