|2/24/2017 7:30:00 AM
LUHS celebrates the Spirit of Excellence
Lakeland Union High School has been recognized as the 2016-17 winner of the Wisconsin State Spirit of Excellence award. The Spirit of Excellence program honors Wisconsin schools that achieve excellence in leadership development, school spirit, sportsmanship and service to school and community.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21 students, faculty and staff flooded the LUHS fieldhouse to celebrate the victory in style. From a performance from the pep band and dance team, to a recognizing athletes from nordic ski, boys' swim, girls' basketball and wrestling, to a finale song from the cast of the upcoming musical "Hello! My Baby," the day was a jovial commemoration to the highest degree.
Student Council advisor Kim Kargus-Myers said the award is a manifestation of the work student council, athletics, academics and arts have achieved in the recent past. "Proud" was the adjective she used to describe the award. Student council is responsible for many of the spirit weeks, including Polar Daze, which ran last week. School spirit is a primary component of the award.
To be eligible, schools must be a member of WIAA and WASC and submit a portfolio that demonstrates achievement in each of three key dimensions in a calendar year beginning Feb. 1. This portfolio was assembled by the student council.
"The award is more than school spirit, though. Our very good AP (Advanced Placement) scores, our graduation rate, closing the achievement gap, our math labs, to our virtual reality lab. Our State Championship athletics, to a group called WE GOAT, which raises money to send kids to school in Sierra Leone," Kargus-Myers said. "There is such a wide variety of elements to the award. Everyone contributes to it in one way or the other."
LUHS principal Jim Bouché shares the notion that the award represents the school as a whole, without focusing on one element. In an interview following the assembly, Bouché was still visibly excited from the pageantry and respect that was shown during the event.
"To win the Spirit of Excellence award means that we, as a collective group, are really working well together. I always talk about the 'Triple A' student - academics, arts, athletics. That's what we want our students to be involved with," Bouché said. "To win this award, with it supported by every major administrative association in the state of Wisconsin, and be noted as the one bright star out of all the great schools in the state is a real feather in our cap of all of our staff, students, administration and school board."
Out of the last six years, LUHS has been a five-time Region 2 Spirit of Excellence Award winner. This marks the first time the school has taken the state title, though. Having always been on the cusp, Bouché said to finish on top is special.
"It's not just the athletics, the arts, the clubs, it's individual students performing at a very high level. When we have 30 to 34 percent of our students in honors and AP classes, when we have students that are getting college credit through the UW system and seeing all the opportunities that our students are taking advantage, that's tremendous and something our community should be aware of," he said.
Evan Verploegh may be reached via email at .