Symmes Valley celebrates academic excellence honor

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 30, 2003

There are 118 school systems in the Ohio School Boards Association's

District 10, comprising a large area that includes Lawrence County

and an area up river almost to Cincinnati. Of those 118 school systems in District 10, only five received an "excellent" rating from the state on their 2003 report cards. Friday, OSBA District 10 Representative Cyrus Richardson came to Symmes Valley to congratulate students, staff and the community on a job well done.

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Richardson said the "excellent rating" took a lot of hard work, and a

desire on the part of the whole community to make improvements.

"A community has the kind of school district they want. Evidently, Symmes Valley wants an excellent school district," Richardson said.

Richardson particularly praised the work of Symmes Valley Superintendent Tom Ben, who has guided the school system out of "academic watch" three years ago through continuous improvement to reach the pinnacle of state ratings.

"There are many good superintendents in this (OSBA 10th) district," Richardson said. "Ben is one of the best."

Ben was quick to praise the efforts of teachers and students in the system's academic achievement.

"The staff worked tirelessly and endlessly to achieve this for the students," Ben said. "This shows the type of students we have at Symmes Valley. The students are the heart and soul of the success of Symmes Valley. They took the proficiency test as a challenge. They took control of the good fortune that could come our way and now Symmes Valley is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to academics."

Calling the "excellent" rating the '"superbowl of academics," Ben said this was one of the most exciting things he's seen in his 32 years as a educator.

Watching Friday's celebration was Diana Humphrey, one of several parents who came to share in the success. Humphrey has two children in the Symmes Valley District: son, Timmy, is a ninth grade student at the high school, and son Lance teaches sixth grade science.

"I think this shows that even a small country school can be a winner when it comes to academics and can be a great place to get an education," Humphrey said.

Students took center stage during the ceremony. Cheerleaders took the floor to lead the last hurrah.

Speaking more of academics than of athletics, the cheerleaders shouted, "Sit back and watch in 2004!"