Keokuk High School is rewarding a group of students for their academic achievement by sending them to the Ed Sheerhan concert in St. Louis.
School principal Adam Magliari said just under 40% of the students at the school showed the necessary growth in math, reading and science on their state testing. For Magliari, seeing this growth was a great experience.
“It’s all about pride,” Magliari said. “It’s everything to us and we wanted it to be important to them. It really kind of brought out the pride, for us to go from 70% overall in math, reading and science to 77%, and in pockets we had 17% growth. So, just amazing jumps and kids are showing what they got in the classroom.”
Forty eight of the eligible students had their name drawn from buckets, 16 each from the sophomore, junior and senior class, and one student who had her name drawn, Olivia Smith, said she is very excited about the concert and the incentive really did impact her.
“I felt like I tried a lot harder than in years past because they didn’t really super broadcast much about how important the tests are and this year because we had such a great incentive and they’re like, ‘okay this really does matter,’ it kind of proved to me, ‘okay I really do need to focus and work a lot harder,” Smith said.
Magliari said setting everything up for the concert was a lengthy process that included a video made by students making it all the way to Sheerhan, who then donated tickets for the event, and over $14,000 being raised, done mostly by local non-profit Mancountry.
At the drawing for the concert tickets the school also incorporated the Keokuk Power Rangers for their first event of the new year, something that was very exciting for video maker Trevor McDaniel.
“It was quite a bit of planning in the beginning to be one hundred percent honest with you. It started as just an idea Magliari had and we were really excited about it. We just kind of kicked on it. We hadn’t done Power Rangers stuff for a while,” McDaniel said. “We got in touch with Magliari before school ended last year and we kind of kicked off from there. We said, ‘What do we need? How do we do it? What’s our time frame?’ That’s how we threw it down.”
The concert will take place Sept. 6 at Busch Stadium and Magliari said he is very excited for the students who will be attending.
“We hope it’s an opportunity of a lifetime and we just want them to know that, you know, hard work pays off,” Magliari said.