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Strive for .5 awards more than 200 students
Written by Greg Ruland   
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 00:00

The auditorium was buzzing with hundreds of Mingus Union High School students waiting to shake the hands of school board members present to recognize them for improving their grades by 0.5 percent in a single semester.

Mingus Union High School juniors Cortlin Sandoval, foreground left, and Juliette Freedman, foreground right, receive their first academic letters and congratulations from school administrators and board members Dec. 8 during the annual Strive for .5 initiative which rewards students for significantly raising their grade point average.Strive for .5 is a program that honors students who raise their grade point average by 0.5 from one semester to the next, or maintained a cumulative 3.5-plus GPA for two consecutive semesters. Strive for .5 started at Mingus in 1987 and has recognized thousands of students.

More than 200 students earned Strive for .5 awards at the Dec. 8 ceremony. Several were first- and second-time recipients.

As each student’s name was called, they walked across the stage and received congratulations from the school’s administrators and governing board members, a certificate, a T-shirt and the applause of their fellow students, parents, relatives and friends.

Sophomore Juan Casiano wasted no time putting on his T-shirt, which displayed a portrait of National Basketball Association superstar Michael Jordan and the quote, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

Casiano, who sometimes dreams of being an astronaut, said he was proud to receive the honor.

“I raised my GPA by 0.5 percent. I think it’s cool they recognize the people who are actually trying to improve themselves.”

Senior Christina Thompson’s sister, Brandi, said she was proud Christina bounced back from a rough period and was working to improve her grades.

“I’m excited for her,” Brandi Thompson said. “She goes to The Academy. She was doing bad for a while, but she’s back on track now.”

“I think it’s a very good motivator,” said senior Shelby Haas’ grandmother, Kelli Hass. “It will look good on her resume. I think this recognition keeps them wanting to do better.”

Principal Tamara Addis told the gathering about the importance of listening to the people who believe in them. She encouraged them to rise to the challenges such people issue because they may have insights other miss.

In her case, Addis said she didn’t believe she could be principal of a high school until Superintendent Tim Foist helped her recognize she could.

“And now, here I am,” Addis said.


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