FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Barb Bergseth
Waseca Junior & Senior High Honored at Character Recognition Awards
Governor Dayton proclaimed May 21 as Character Recognition Day in Minnesota. In celebration, Synergy & Leadership Exchange presented awards to 12 schools and four community programs for excellence in character development at the Character Recognition Awards ceremony at the State Capitol. Waseca Jr. & Sr. High received the 2015 Minnesota School of Character award. State Senator Vicki Jensen and Representative John Petersburg were at the event to congratulate Waseca representatives, which included superintendent Tom Lee, principal Jeanne Swanson, assistant principal Darren Nelson, staff members Mary Jo DeLaitsch and David Oraskovich, and students Stephanie Butterfield and Paige Hildebrandt.
The Minnesota Schools of Character award recognizes schools and/or districts that excel in exemplifying the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education and demonstrate outstanding initiatives yielding positive results in student behavior, school climate and academic performance. Waseca Junior & Senior High serves nearly 1,000 students in grades 7-12. Three years ago, Waseca Public Schools closed a building and transitioned seventh and eighth grade into the high school. It was a welcome challenge and character education was an important part of the transition, creating unity and a positive school culture. The school motto, We R4 the Bluejay Way, encourages all to respect yourself, others, property and learning.
“I see the positive effects of character education. Visitors to our building comment on the positive attitude of the student body,” said teacher David Oraskovich. “Students exude an enthusiasm toward success in the classroom and foster healthy relationships with other students and staff. Students feel safe, accepted and challenged; they strive to do their best and to treat one another well. People care about one another, people are willing to challenge themselves, and people know that character counts.”
Waseca Jr. & Sr. High also has the prestigious honor of being named a 2015 National School of Character by Character.org. Each year, Synergy & Leadership Exchange works in collaboration with Character.org to select schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development that has a true positive affect on academic achievement, student behavior, and school climate. Schools and districts named as a State School of Character move on to the national evaluation process for consideration to be National Schools of Character.
“Utilizing components of character education is a large part of our student and staff’s daily routines,” said Jeanne Swanson, principal at Waseca Junior & Senior High. “We are grateful for Synergy & Leadership Exchange and Character.org for their efforts to create a state and national discussion on the importance of character in education. We are eager to carry this distinction for years to come and are hopeful our example will lead other schools in Minnesota to participate in this program in order to enhance students’ lives statewide.”
Synergy & Leadership Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering collaboration to advance the development of ethical citizens, providing educational resources, and celebrating achievement and best practices in Minnesota schools, businesses and communities. For more information about the Character Recognition Awards visit synergyexchange.org/Celebrate/CRA.aspx.