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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Nixon applauds RHS for excellence in education

  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recognized Rolla High School's excellent track record on a number of educational levels during a visit to the school Wednesday morning.
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  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recognized Rolla High School's excellent track record on a number of educational levels during a visit to the school Wednesday morning.
    "It was a neat opportunity for our students to have Gov. Nixon here for a formal visit," said Rolla Public Schools Superintendent Aaron Zalis.
    The governor's first stop at the high school was Karen Hammond's chemistry class. Among other things, he spoke on the importance of a balanced education that includes the core subjects and the arts.
    "The people of the future who are going to succeed, the entrepreneurs who are the people who come up with solutions to things, are the ones who have both team-building skills and great creativity," Nixon told the class.
    Just a few doors down the hall in Tammy Lueck's German class, the governor offered a similar message.
    He was later greeted by the RHS band's rendition of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as he entered the gym.
    In his opening remarks, Nixon told the students, "Governors go where good things are happening and there are a lot of good things happening in Phelps County."
    He said that it is quite an accomplishment for RHS to receive a 96.1 percent on last year's Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP).
    "Your graduation rate and ACT scores are consistently higher than the state average," the governor added.
    Nixon spent the rest of his 20-minute talk on his "Good Schools, Good Jobs" plan which will fully fund  the state's kindergarten through 12th grade foundation formula by fiscal year 2016.
    It would also provide resources to Rolla Public Schools to hire additional early childhood education teachers and offer more preschool openings as well as provide handheld and wireless technology in the classroom.
    "The competition is global these days," Nixon explained. "This (RHS) is the base for that competition. To create good jobs, we need good schools."
    Nixon’s fiscal year 2015 “Good Schools, Good Jobs” budget proposal would increase funding for Rolla Public Schools by more than $1.3 million.
    Missouri was the fastest-growing state for technology employment in 2013, according to a recent analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by Dice.com.
    Missouri gained 2,700 tech positions in 2013, an increase of 8.4 percent, in the category of professional and business services, computer systems design and related services.
    Three RHS students were selected to ask the governor questions. Among them was junior Delaney Lawson who asked Nixon his thoughts on the role of public versus private schools.
    "The difference between public schools and private schools is that public schools take everybody," he said. "There is definitely a place for private schools. However, we in the public schools have a responsibility to the entire community."
    Page 2 of 2 - The governor concluded the morning by telling the students to never give up their fervor for learning.
    "There is no investment that will have a greater impact on the quality of your life and the nation than right now in your education," Nixon said. "That is why I am calling on you to use all that you have learned inside and outside the classroom to empower you to allow you to achieve and find your unique voice."
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