Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Here's to the winners

May 9, 2014 

Maybe you saw the scorecard from Tuesday's Ledger-Enquirer Page One Awards.

I say scorecard because it seems like as Americans we can't do anything without keeping score or declaring a winner. As the winning students were being called to the RiverCenter stage, many in the audience were instinctively keeping a running tally of which school had the most winners and were therefore beating everybody else.

In the end, it was Harris County High School, with first-place finishes in Math, Science, Art, Music, Drama and Citizenship.

Nationally ranked Columbus High School was a distant second, with winners in General Scholarship, English Literature and Social Science.

In fact, Harris County High School had more first-place winners than the entire Muscogee County School District, which has nine high schools. In addition to Columbus High's three awards, Shaw High School students won two, for Foreign Language and Career & Technology.

Rounding out the winners were Brookstone and Central of Phenix City.

So on Tuesday night, Harris County High was the unmistakable winner, and a loud crowd of Tigers made sure nobody forgot it.

One audience member not from Harris County joked that next year's Page One awards will be held in Pine Mountain.

Understandably, Harris County students and parents left the RiverCenter feeling great about their school.

But what about everybody else?

What about homebuyers who chose Muscogee County over Harris County so they could send their children to Columbus High? Or what about parents who do live in Harris County but pay to send their children to Columbus High or a private school?

How were they feeling?

Hopefully, they were keeping everything in perspective.

Hopefully, they realized that Page One is about individual achievement, not school achievement.

According to the latest College and Career Ready Performance Index scores, Harris County High ranked below Columbus High, as well as Early College and Northside High, which had no Page One winners.

In Muscogee County, Shaw High, which had two winners, ranked behind Kendrick, which had no Page One winners and no nominees in math, science, English or music.

It's all about the students and their stories. Harris County's P.K. Hollist had an impressive resume, but he likely won because after he was nearly electrocuted erecting a flagpole, he kept up with schoolwork from his hospital bed and even created a financial guidebook to be given to every graduating senior.

P.K. would have won the Page One award for math regardless of which school he attended.

I thought my daughter, who attends Columbus High and was a nominee for art, summed it up well. When somebody told her she should have won, she shook her head no. "I didn't cure cancer," she said.

She was exaggerating -- I wonder where she gets that? -- but she was really saying that all the winners did something incredible and deserved the recognition.

I salute all the seniors in the Chattahoochee Valley, whether you were nominated for a Page One award or not. High school was just one chapter for you. Your stories are just beginning -- so go out and write some good ones.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com

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