MY WORD: Collins High School has a lot going for it

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By Julie Sanchez

Collins High School...an opportunity for success.

As one drives up Discovery Boulevard, an impressive "green" school comes into view. Cross-country runners can be seen trotting over the sprawling rural campus. One also notices coaches and students from various teams sharing fields and making the best of a challenging situation. The band beats out cheerful tunes in the parking lot.

If one enters the school, they quickly notice pictures on the wall proudly

displaying last year’s Governor Scholar recipients. Three more will join them

this year. Proceed straight and you will enter the very promising engineering lab of Ms. Terri Henry. This unique addition was ambitiously acquired with a $65,000 federal grant. In one year Ms. Henry assisted several of her students in winning an engineering competition at U of K that earned them several thousand dollars in scholarships.

Go back a few yards and enter what I think should be named the "Frances Fonza Auditorium." Ms. Fonza just-so-happened to win the prestigious "Teacher of the Year" award last year. Just mention her name to her students and they practically start crying with affection. She is an amazing choir teacher.

If one exits the auditorium and heads west, they might land in Ms. Marcel Whitfield's College Prep English I class. My daughter thought she was so inspiring that she wished she could have her all four years. Ms. Whitfield has the highest expectations of her students, and herself (I'm not being "terse, " am I Ms. Whitfield?).

Come back a ways, northward, and you'll see a gym room that has been made into a shooting range. Retired Lt. Col. Keith Gramig and Master Sgt. Alvin Bethea teach JROTC, which includes a rifle team. They are an awesome addition to Collins in helping teach students how to be leaders. I heard one of their students may want to go to West Point.

As I meander throughout the hallways of Collins High School, I am reminded of a "town hall" meeting I attended a year earlier. It was held at SCHS before the opening of Collins High School. It was an opportunity for parents to ask questions about the new high school and its arrangements. The first 30 minutes were consumed with athletic questions. Parents wanted to know about coaches, players, buses and who would play where. Finally, Principal Anthony Hatchell gave me hope when he asked, "Are there any academic questions!?"

I believe all of Shelby County needs to know about the awesome teachers that work at Collins High School every day. It's the people that make Collins High School great, not the quality of a football, basketball, or baseball field. I only regret that I cannot attest to numerous other exceptional qualities found at Collins High School. I know there are agricultural, mathematic and dramatic highlights that are not being heard.

By the way, who needs a football field anyhow? Caterina Karas ran around Collins High School, Red Orchard Park and who knows where else and managed to win a state title in cross country!

We have amazing students and a resourceful faculty at Collins High School, and that's what I want to talk about!


Julie Sanchez, a mother of four, lives in Shelbyville.