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Academic U's Hope

Tangible recognition rewards such as a high school LETTER can push students academically as well as it has, over the years, athletically. Try khanacademy.org it's FREE!!

THANKS, University City High School PTO's for continuing the Academic U program for the last 25 years. I received a certificate Thursday 9-15-2011, for starting this motivational, (that was our hope at that time) program. I was truly grateful for the certificate but more so to the PTO'S since, who have made the program a success. Without these wonderful people understanding, that our students needed encouragement from the adults, through something tangible to help motivate them this would have never suceeded.

Twenty five years ago we recognized the trend downward in academic achievement, particularly amongst African American students. This prompted us to try and come up with something to possibly turn this around. We discussed many ideas before I remembered something from my high school days. After integration became the law of the land ( US Supreme Court decision 1954 striking down Separate But Equal) I along with about 40 other African American students started attending Ritenour High.

I was never an athlete but I was accepted into the band where I earned a band letter for participation. I was as proud of this LETTER as any athlete, and I learned to appreciate the exhilaration of the achievement. I brought this to my PTO and they agreed that this could be as motivating for academics as athletics. We consulted with the athletic director and the principal and received the go ahead, thus the Academic LETTER U was born. We chose the lamp of learning emblem emblazoned on it  to distinguish it from the athletic letter.

There are many adjectives which can be used to describe what we were trying to achieve with the ACADEMIC U, and hopefully all of them have applied to the hundreds of students that have received them over the last twenty five years. Today we are still on an academic decline but we adults have to continue to help our children to get back up! Tutoring is one way of doing this, I mention khanacademy.org as a free resource available on all computers, for any and all of those that want help.

Again, I want to THANK all the adults who have participated in the high school PTOS' for the last twenty five years, and those now and in the future!

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mary nani lhotak September 27, 2011 at 02:09 PM
At the homecoming game this weekend I sold a ticket to a young gentleman, recent graduate, who was wearing his academic letter on a "Letter Sweater" hoodie he created. I noted the lamplight insignia and was warm with pride, knowing he was displaying his academic excellence. Many youngsters receive this acknowledgement of the academic(or athletic) achievement, and yet few proudly show off the "U". The cost of a traditional letter jacket/sweater is excessive, but applying academic or athletic letter to a piece of fashionable and affordable clothing shows our graduates' true brilliance. Thank you for starting this wonderful acknowledgement program and all the work you do supporting our students.

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