Hernando Optimists donation

Front row from left are: Carolyn Young, Hernando High School assistant principal Malinda White, and Rachel Cook. Back row from left are: Hernando High School counselor Anne Goss, Pam Black, Brandi Rochelle, Allison Gorris, and Hernando special education teacher Kristen Morris.

Hernando High School and its mission to help students achieve through their improved performance in the college entrance exams has become a beneficiary of one of the city’s annual festivals.

The Optimist Club of Hernando has presented the school a donation in the amount of $1,435 that will be used for helping students improve their American College Testing (ACT) scores.

Counselor Anne Goss says the money will help the school achieve one of its goals to increase the average ACT scores among students taking the exam by one point for the 2019-2020 school year.

A second goal is to increase the scholarship dollar total of Hernando High School seniors by five percent.

“The school average for the ACT is 19.9,” Goss explained. “We would like this to be at least a 20.9 or 21. The senior scholarship total was over $7 million for May 2019. The number one way for scholarship dollars to go up is by an ACT score.”

The check presented will cover the cost of a fall geometry class but that’s not the only donation the Optimists have given to the high school.

About 600 dollars was given to cover the costs of five math calculators the special education teachers use in the Learning Lab to assist in teaching Algebra I, a state tested course.

Another group of special education freshman and sophomore students are working on their regular high school diploma and have a Learning Lab/Tutorial to help them with classwork and academic certificates.

Each special education student’s course of study is governed by what is called an Individualized Education Program, or IEP, and with Hernando students, a goal of their IEP is organization. The Optimists provided 450 dollars for 30 planners to assist the students on organizational goals.

Another 30 planners, at a total of 450 dollars, is provided to At Risk students.

In all, the Optimist Club of Hernando is covering the cost of about $3,200 in school materials, funding which Rachel Cook of the club said all comes from their A’Fair proceeds.

“The Optimist Club is totally funded by the A’Fair,” said Cook. “It’s the only fundraising project we have each year and it funds all of our projects throughout the year. The Optimist International’s mission is ‘bringing out the best in kids,’ so everything we do is for children in our community.”

Cook also said that working with Goss helped prioritize the list of items that were donated.

“I worked with Anne (Goss) to see what kind of needs they had,” Cook explained. “She gave me a list of about five different things and we were able to combine those things to meet almost everything. All of these projects are helping in one way or another helping the students get to the next level.”

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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