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Morning Sun
  • Colgan opens with 'positive energy' Thursday morning

  • The St. Mary’s Colgan School District graduated 24 seniors in May, one of its smallest senior classes on record. On Thursday, however, the district began the 2011-2012 school year with 48 seniors, one of its biggest classes.

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  • The St. Mary’s Colgan School District graduated 24 seniors in May, one of its smallest senior classes on record. On Thursday, however, the district began the 2011-2012 school year with 48 seniors, one of its biggest classes.
    At Colgan, the senior class typically takes a surrogate teaching and leadership role over the freshman, sophomore and junior classes, scooping them under their collective wings as they organize fundraising projects and other activities. With such a large class, senior Marlie Barnes said she thinks there are more opportunities for the students to work together and bond this year.
    “I’d like to see the underclassmen be more involved, and I’d like to see the senior class be better teachers,” Barnes said during second period Thursday morning. “I know I’d like to take the time to get to know the classmates that maybe I don’t know so well.”
    Senior Sam Gilbert nodded in agreement with Barnes.
    “We have to step into it and take over a leadership role,” Gilbert said.
    Optimism was high at St. Mary’s Junior/Senior High School as the students roamed the halls between classes, organizing their lockers and chatting with friends. With new teachers and classes this year, President of Schools John Kraus said he’s looking forward to watching the changes unfold.
    “There’s a lot of positive energy in the building,” Kraus said, adding that recent donations allowed the district to upgrade its technology over the summer. “We’re not anticipating any great challenges.”
    Kraus said the unusually large group of seniors was due to a low attrition rate among students — typically about 75 percent of the average SMC senior class entered the district as kindergartners.
    “It’s still an enrollment roller coaster in August,” Kraus said.
    Like Barnes and Gilbert, Kraus said he has high expectations for the school year and the student body. He said he thinks the students will represent the school and its mission well.
    “You’re not just teaching the children, you’re teaching the children of God, and when people ask ‘How did you do with that,’ we have to be able to say we led them closer to God,” Kraus said. “It’s not just a child taking a math class. They have to be able to say ‘I took them closer to God in the way I taught them, challenged them and respected them.’”
    The school typically goes for a half day to allow the students time to reaclimate to the school setting, but not this year.
    “This year we decided ‘No, our students are ready,’” Kraus said.
     
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