Forest Park, IL...A student who is involved in activities at school is one who tends to do better in the classroom, according to Ms. Kim Echols, principal at Proviso Math and Science Academy.
"The aim of education should be to teach us how to think," she told a crowd of about 300 incoming eighth-graders and their parents at PMSA’s Incoming Freshmen Night on Thursday, April 4, at the school.
Ms. Echols said that of the 583 applicant students from the schools that feed into Proviso Township High Schools District 209, only 200 were selected to attend for the next four years at PMSA. Those who do get an opportunity to take challenging classes, including early bird band and engineering by design, as well as foreign language and dual credit courses at nearby Triton College.
"Our curriculum is challenging and we will support you," she said.
A major part of the evening were pitches from the teacher advisers and current students participating in various activities available to PMSA students. They watched a performance by the choir led by PMSA music director Matt Brown. They saw the Proviso East marching band, led by director Reginald Wright, perform.
They also were introduced to intramurals, plays, poetry, anime club, and other activities. Reggie Osborne, a PMSA senior who plays baseball for Proviso East, said playing sports and other activities served multiple purposes for him.
"It keeps you out of trouble," he said. "But it also gives a feeling of meeting new friends."
The activities are great for PMSA, but students selected for the school must maintain a rigorous schedule. For example, they must complete 144 hours of community service during their four years, compared to 40 each at Proviso East and Proviso West. They also need to complete 25 credit hours to graduate, compared to 22 at East and West.
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said the rigorous standards help students at PMSA excel that much more.
"You have to provide a high bar for students to excel," she said. "Our students are capable of excelling at anything we provide them."