Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
About 150 Christian County High School juniors got a chance to see downtown Hopkinsville in action Wednesday, touring the new municipal building, eating lunch at Dots on Main and visiting the Alhambra Theatre while their principal spoke of excelling in the real world.
The excursions were part of an effort to make the students more aware of their school in relation to the rest of Kentucky and what it means for their future.
“We made a deliberate effort to talk to kids about some realities and to make a plea to say, ‘You do your part to embrace this partnership that will make us all better,’” Principal Mike Stevenson said.
Stevenson told the students that, 10 years ago, their school was ranked 222 out of 300 in Kentucky. Although none of the students on Wednesday’s tour where in high school at the time, it is important they know how far the school has come and understand the work that still needs to be done, Stevenson said.
He also applauded their efforts as the school has increased its placement in state standardized testing every year for the past three.
“Three years in a row, for a high school each year to be better than it was the year before is a big deal,” Stevenson said. “This is our house. It’ll be as good as we make it.”
This is only the second time in the last four years that the school has taken an entire grade out of school to discuss the subject.
Stevenson said he normally speaks to smaller groups about similar topics, but because it's only the current seniors that remember the first trip, he wanted to do it on a large scale.
“We have a very large student voice group, over a hundred kids, and I talk to them routinely,” he said. “They are a catalyst to get that out to their friends. We’ve not done it like this.”
In addition to Stevenson’s talk at the Alhambra, the students got a tour of the new municipal building and met Mayor Dan Kemp, who gave them a crash course in how government works, including allocating tax dollars for projects such as the Hopkinsville Greenway System.
The students also heard from Clarise Green, the office manager for Community and Development Services. She talked about several of the city’s other projects, including Tie-Breaker Park, projects to alleviate flooding issues and community housing, as well as plans to build a skateboard park.
It was an all-around education, Stevenson said, adding that he too learned a few things along the way.
“The issue was not so much City Hall as I wanted (the students) to have the opportunity to walk in their community,” Stevenson said at the Alhambra Theatre. “Our community should be proud of (the theater and things like it) … I’m going to tell you, while I knew about it, I didn’t really know about it.
“When we can expose our kids to stuff like this, I think it’s awesome. I think it’s the best venue we’ve ever had.”
The sophomore class is set to go downtown today for a similar experience.
Reach Heather Huber at 270-887-3238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.