Bobcats take academic excellence to State

Seventh grader Amanda Henderson and 6th grader Keona Whitey share their experiences as students highly involved with their school’s extracurricular programs in academics. Each of them presenting projects, or competing at the State level alongside their peers.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

Ignacio Middle School sent five students, plus two alternates, to this year’s State Science Fair. Nine students from Ignacio Middle School will present projects for National History Day in Colorado, in addition to the school sending a spelling bee representative to the Colorado State Finals.

Academically, one could say this was a banner year for Ignacio.

“Every year it just feels like it gets better,” said Ignacio Middle School Principal Chris deKay. “Students are geared towards the academic side of things.”

“I just feel over the course of the last decade, the skills are improving each year,” he said. “There are more opportunities for students to expand their knowledge, the classes provide more enrichment.”

Principal deKay attributes much of this success as a shared effort by his staff at Ignacio Middle School along with support from the community.

The PSAT Course is yet another academic opportunity for these young students as they prepare for high school. Open to 7th and 8th graders, and students in the 6th grade by teacher recommendation.

“It is in its fifth year, and every year more and more students participate,” said deKay.

“It is basically to get them ready for SAT tests as juniors, this gives them a frame of reference,” said deKay.

The PSAT course includes taking the class itself, completing a formal interview process and making a commitment to the test each year, leading up to their junior year of high school.

Ignacio Middle School Principal Chris deKay attributes the continued academic success of the school and high level of student involvement to his hardworking staff of teachers and administrators.

One of Ignacio’s Middle School students involved in the PSAT course is 6th grader Keona Whitey who found the program to be more challenging then her regular coursework.

“It took a long time, lots of studying,” said Whitey. “The programs help prepare you for more of the challenges ahead.”

These thoughts were also echoed by 7th grader Amanda Henderson. Henderson participated in this year’s National History Day in Colorado competition and Science Fair in addition to being the school’s representative in the State Spelling Bee competition.

“You can go further,” said Henderson who is hoping to continue to be involved in all the academic programs offered though Ignacio Middle School next year.

Both students felt the extracurricular courses and projects pushed them further academically then the standard course work alone.

Whitey also participated in the Regional Science Fair and National History Day in Colorado.

“We wanted to stand out from the crowd and do something unique,” said Whitey in regards to her National History project titled ‘Rosie the Riveter’ which she worked on with a partner this year.

Taking a Stand in History was the theme for this year’s National History Day in Colorado projects. Each year the State provides a topic, students create projects around that topic. They can perform a solo skit or group performance, create a webpage, display board or submit a formal paper for consideration.

National History Day in Colorado will be held at the University of Colorado Denver campus on Saturday, May 6. This year’s spelling bee graced the University of Denver, and the State Science Fair was held on the Colorado State University campus, Fort Collins, Colo.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to push themselves academically,” said deKay. “From afterschool programs to personal enrichment projects.”

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