Wednesday, May 31, 2017

More than a Motto, Welcoming School and Supportive Student Culture

Today's post is from MWHS Principal Mark McIlmoyle

Small School Advantages, Big School Opportunities. It’s much more than a catchy motto. This is clear commitment on the part of Westonka Schools and Mound Westonka High School to invest deeply in trying to provide as many opportunities as possible for young people to explore new interests. This approach to education nurtures the natural curiosity people young and old possess in trying new things and I see our students trying new activities, new sports for the first time on a regular basis. I hear students say these sorts of things all of the time: “I haven’t tried speech before, but I’m interested. I’ll give it a try.” “I am playing basketball and football, but I have always wanted to do Quiz Bowl . . . yeah, I’m going to try Quiz Bowl.” “I’m going to play tennis this year/ I’ve never played but I like Mr. Paul and I’m interested in trying it.” In short, environments that nurture this level of curiosity (to try new things at any point in a 8-12th grade experience) just does not exist everywhere.

I am also very proud of the welcoming environment MWHS possesses. When we have visitors to our school, the first thing they describe of their experience from the main office to walking the hallways in passing time, is what a welcoming environment we have here at the high school. You can tell a lot about what a place values by spending just a short time observing. When visitors arrive, they experience a welcoming, smiling office staff. Visitors experience students that not only represent themselves effectively and employ great manners, but they are always willing to assist in providing directions or lending a hand. I do not take this environment for granted. I am grateful for everyone’s efforts to represent MWHS so incredibly well and I challenge us to keep up the effort as it sets our school apart!

Finally, our student culture is a supportive one. Students show up to each other’s events to support one another. Students who are concerned about one another, look to adults for help and to intervene. We must keep this commitment at the forefront of our goals as a school. Being there for one another, in easy and challenging times provides a backbone to a student culture that is strong. White Hawk strong.

You have worked hard. The summer months are upon us and it is time for you to get some rest and play. Have a safe and happy summer and know that your Principal is proud to call himself a White Hawk and is proud of the students and staff that he works with every day to make the above points of pride, possible.