Op Ed: Ruehlig Praises Deer Valley HS on Becoming a State Honor Roll School

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The following was submitted by Walter Ruehlig, President of the Antioch School Board

I can say, with all honesty, that the recent recognition of both Dozier Libbey Medical High School and Deer Valley High as California State Honor Roll Schools came as no surprise to me.

Dozier is, of course, no stranger to these kinds of awards and as for Deer Valley, all I can say is it’s about time! Regrettably, the school has suffered from street gossip for years when anybody who knows the school appreciates it does well by our kids.

It now joins the recognized star ranking of 21 of our 287 County schools. The distinction is based on high performance for schools with focus on STEM and with schools having high rates of diversity, economic challenge and percentage of kids at-risk.

As to perception, remember that, for better or worse, the school sits on a major thoroughfare smack next to a Mall. It gets a bad rap because, admittedly, some kids hang out before going home. I’m not a fan of this but some kids even let their shirts hang out after school.

So what’s new under the sun?! Need we watch James Dean and Marlon Brando movies to recall the not all so innocent teen behaviors of the 1950’s? Teens have been teens for many a moon.

What counts to me, though, is a staggering drop the last few years in expulsions and suspensions and the fact that it’s been years since we had a major incident at the Mall.

Yes, perception can sway reality. Fact is, my own son helped first educate me as to the real picture of DVHS.  He graduated from there in 2008. For a stretch I was prompted by the rumors  to pester him after school as to how things were going. His consistent response finally convinced me to let go as he’d say, “Dad, why do you always ask?  Nobody ever bothers me. There’s no major issues here.”

Incidentally, Josh went on to study environmental engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and within three days of graduating college got a job with the State Water Resources Board. Not that money is the prime measure, but, yes, at 27 years of age he makes more than I do.  More importantly, he’s smarter!

From my side, I’ve walked the Deer Valley campus many times and found the overwhelming majority of kids to be engaged, respectful and courteous to a fault. My son prospered in the school’s superior music, sports and leadership activities and has become a productive citizen. Like him,  legions have prospered and legions more will continue to do so from DVHS.

Truly, DVHS, like other Antioch schools, busts its’ tail to prepare our students for college, career and life. It’s a partnership, though, so I praise the students, the parents and the staff.

After all, education is a three legged stool.  DVHS is one proudly and well built.

Walter Ruehlig
President, Antioch School Board

 

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