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Junior Journalist Update from Lincoln Prairie – By Sophia S.

For their first article of the school year, we asked our Junior Journalists to submit a personal reflection on what 54 Promise means to them.

“A promise must never be broken” is a quote credited to Alexander Hamilton. District 54 has promised to commit to Ensuring Student Success, and has done everything in its power to keep this promise. However, I believe that the rest is up to the students.

The meaning of this promise, to me, is that I am given all the materials and opportunities to improve myself as a student and a person. The teachers here at Lincoln Prairie help me to achieve my academic goals. The staff creates a welcoming, safe environment, where students can be themselves and establish connections with their peers. However, there is more to actually being successful as a student than simply using what is provided. All of these things are great on their own, but if we begin to rely solely on what has been offered to us rather than using it to take responsibility for our own learning, then our success may not be guaranteed.  Students must be willing to put in the time and effort needed to thrive in the school environment.

There are many resources at our disposal to use in order to flourish in the classroom.  These vary from study sessions with teachers, to getting that extra 20 minutes to work in class. Personally, I feel like the Lincoln Prairie staff is really considerate about our schedules outside of school, and provide us with the extra time when we need to complete assignments. Many middle level students participate in after-school activities. Whether it be for a sport or an instrument, sometimes you aren’t able to get work done at home without losing precious hours of sleep. In those moments, having those 20 minutes during study hall or the rest of class to finish an assignment is super helpful. Doing homework isn’t the only use of study hall, though. The teachers also spend this time offering their assistance to any student that needs it. If you don’t understand a  question on the math homework, or need some help understanding what you need to write for an upcoming report, this is the perfect time to ask for guidance. Many teachers also offer before-school sessions for young scholars to ask questions. I have attended one of these meetings in order to study for a math test. I received a lot of help on topics that I didn’t fully grasp yet, and I felt much more prepared for the exam.

Another fantastic tool given to us is Gmail (no need to send me a royalty check Google, this one’s on me). With this app, we are able to communicate with both our teachers and peers. This app presents alternative opportunities, such as allowing students the chance to talk with their classmates who don’t own phones and ask for help on schoolwork. Teachers are also available to answer homework questions during after-school or before-school hours. Students are held more accountable for their learning, and gain responsibility in doing so. On the topic of Google Apps, Google Classroom is another incredible resource at our disposal. All of my teachers post upcoming assignments that are due and extra resources to help us complete them. These posts are really beneficial because they make it easier for students to complete their work well and on time.

To switch gears from the academic opportunities, there are also many wonderful sports offered at Lincoln Prairie. These can be really beneficial to students because they allow us to meet new people and be a part of a team: something bigger than ourselves. When we are able to set aside our differences and work together as a group , we grow as people. Communication is an ability that is improved with competitive sports. In order to be an active team member, you have to communicate and relate to your coaches and teammates. Learning to engage with people is an important tool used in everyday life, and achieving this standard assists in the success of a student.

Another important point of discussion is the support of the staff. The teachers often say  that they have high expectations for me and all my fellow students. It isn’t a bad thing, I promise! When I say that, I basically mean that they believe in us and know that we can do better. By offering constructive criticism and pushing us, teachers help students reach their full academic potential. Lincoln Prairie teachers really have students’ interests at heart and know how to help us better understand lessons and topics we learn in class. It’s these relationships that we have with our teachers that help them understand what kind of learners we are individually. Opportunities to share ideas in a supportive and safe environment help to challenge me and help me grow intellectually. The same goes for all of my other classmates.

All these reasons are proof that the staff at Lincoln Prairie do everything in their power to ensure our success as students, teammates and just people in general. With the support of our teachers and each other, we are able to become better versions of ourselves. To become citizens that can contribute positively to our environments. To become healthy, successful young adults.