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Let's hear it for MAUHS

April 7, 2010

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Kathy Hoisington decided earlierthis year that our community needs to know just how good Mount Anthony Union High School really is. To back this up, Hoisington Realty has been paying for an expanded version of the Mount Anthony Messenger. The student-written and edited newspaper (the most recent issue of which was a supplement in this past Saturday's Banner) highlights the accomplishments of MAUHS students as scholars, artists, performers and volunteers.

The expansion of the Messenger helps to counter the perception that somehow MAUHS is a second-rate school, when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Based on my experience as a foster parent and host parent to foreign exchange students, as well as the successful high school careers of the children of friends, I have found we have an excellent high school. Its graduates enter the local work force and a wide range of colleges, including the nation's most competitive. Many teachers are demanding in their expectations and teach in a way that requires students to use higher-level thinking skills. Students may also participate in arts activities, music, school leadership and sports.

Through the Rotary Club's scholarship program, each year club members hear about the academic progress being made by MAUHS graduates who have moved on and are now in college or technical schools. They are bright, talented and committed, not only to their education but to the future of our country and Quantcast world. Members of the Interact Club (a Rotary affiliated group) have an active relationship with Bennington's sister city in Nicaragua, and its members have made multiple trips for volunteer work. Other students have volunteered in home building and repair efforts in the south and local projects in Bennington.

MAUHS, however, serves a broad range of students. Not all are college bound, and some students face academic, social and health issues. The "Community Profile" published by the Agency of Human Services shows a student body that comes from and reflects a larger community with significant family and educational challenges. For this reason the statewide test results are not always sterling. This inane result of the No Child Left Behind Act leads to MAUHS's classification as a school in need of improvement.

Principal Sue Maguire, more than any MAUHS leader in the past 30 years, has a passionate commitment to the students who come from educationally and economically disadvantaged homes. She has worked hard to ensure that there are effective alternative programs for students who want to work full time and go to school part time, those who need health services on campus and those who need more encouragement to stay in school and succeed.

When I was in high school almost 40 years ago, students who had problems just disappeared. They stopped coming. Some found jobs in the factories, repair shops and retail stores in my area. Frankly, no one much noticed because back then you could still get a job without a high school diploma. Today you can't, and MAUHS has successfully reduced the number of students who leave before completion. That fact also deserves recognition.

MAUHS is an excellent high school providing a wide range of programs and extra-curricular activities for its wide range of students, and Kathy Hoisington wants everyone to know that.

Author: Charles R. Putney - Bennington Rotary Club Member
Compliments of: The Bennington Banner

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