OREGON (WREX) — 2020 was a difficult year for students across the country due to distance learning and stress put on by the Coronavirus pandemic, but one Stateline school reached new height in the classroom last year.
Each of Oregon High School's 18 varsity sports team averaged a 3.0 GPA or higher as a team, an accomplishment never achieved at the school. For context, only 10% of Illinois high schools reach that standard for one or more of their teams according to KMK Media.
School leaders attribute the success to an action plan put into place in 2019. Teachers, coaches and student athletes came together to talk about what values needed to be prioritized to achieve success both on and off the athletic fields.
Oregon High School Principal Heidi Deininger says the 120 person panel came up with five core values.
"We have our five core values as a Hawk athlete," Deininger said. "They are selfless, integrity, accountable, physically and mentally tough, and coachable."
Students at the high school like rising senior Abbi Virgil says she's happy the school made the push for these values after seeing dwindling school spirit and sports team sizes in the years prior.
"Pre 2019, our sports programs and just our extra circulars activities in general just took a lull in not only attendance, but also everybody's attitude towards them," Virgil said. "The change was definitely needed."
Both Virgil and fellow rising senior Ethan George see the academic achievement of proof that the values are leading to good results and that student athletes are dedicated on the field and in the classroom.
"Honestly it's proving people wrong that we just don't care about sports," George said. "We're focusing on our grades, but we're also playing for our team, we're all playing together."
Future goals for the school and its athletic teams include bringing home conference titles and state trophies.