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Whiteville High receives honorable mention

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US News and World Report recently named the nation's best high schools. And three local schools made the list. Trask, Pender, and Whiteville High Schools were among the nearly 1,100 schools that received honorable mention in the bronze category. For Whiteville, it was quite a dramatic turnaround. Meeting state testing requirements has been a big challenge for Whiteville High. Everyone there is excited about the national recognition, but realizes there's still room for improvement. As classes change at Whiteville High School Principal John Westberg makes his presence known. He's determined to raise the school's test scores, which are currently middle-of the road as compared to the rest of the state. Westberg said, "We're doing a lot of remediation, a lot of work with instruction with the teachers and we've worked very hard and I think we're going to see a good change in those test scores." Administrators credit strong student-teacher relationships for the recent national recognition. Associate Superintendent Cindy Williamson said, "The kids have to know that they're connected and feel connected to the school and I think that's one of the most powerful things that they have done." Math scores need the most improvement, and associate superintendent Cindy Williamson praises the teachers for going above and beyond in trying to meet that goal. Williamson said, "They're here practically every day of the week after school tutoring. There is not monetary reward for that, it's just something they're doing because they know the kids need it." Whiteville High School senior Brett Coleman said, "All of my learning, they have helped me out tremendously with it." Coleman says he feels prepared for the future and hopes to attend Appalachian State next year. He credits his teachers. Principal Westberg says the recognition is just the beginning of great things to come. He sees this national recognition as a challenge to continue to improve the school. Administrators recently applied for two grants from both the federal and state level and will soon apply for a third. They hope to hear about those in the spring.

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