Jan. 2—EDITOR'S NOTE — This is one in a series looking at what Northeast Ohio communities and agencies experienced in 2022 and what is facing them in 2023.
Euclid High School is moving forward into 2023 expanding upon its curriculum from the prior year and hoping to inspire its students to reach even greater heights
Euclid High Principal Corey Russell said that his job has always been to push his students to excel and find out what they are passionate about.
"I always wanted to be the catalyst to help and motivate our students," Russell said. "I want them to take the leap and capitalize on the opportunities that this school can provide. That was a thing that really pushed me into working with this school."
Russell said that despite the fear left over from the pandemic the students of Euclid High have been actively participating in many of the public gatherings they had to offer.
One such gathering that is designed to raise the morale of their students was the reintroduction of pep rallies during 2022.
"Students were telling me 'Our pep rally we had earlier this year was the first one they've had in a long time.' I heard some people say four, six years, some people say we've never had one that was like that," Russell recalled. "The kids were able to express themselves in fun ways and have that school spirit and camaraderie. I was one of them, chanting and cheering as a kid and now I get to lead them through it as the principal."
Other events throughout the year were meant to mimic the morale-boosting effects of the pep rally such as the Student versus Teacher flag football games or the Movie Nights hosted in the school auditorium.
In 2022 Russell said that by utilizing the football team, the Euclid Panthers, in a similar way they can help boost their students desire to excel within the school system.
"We're going to celebrate being Euclid Panthers together as frequently as we possibly can," he said. "Obviously, academics is the No. 1 reason why we're here, but collectively we need to embrace each other, celebrate each other, and have some fun.
"You think about high school," he added. "You don't think about your third period geometry class, you think about those experiences that bring everybody together and I want to make sure that the kids are having as many of those experiences as possible."
Russell said that the school's extracurricular activities have always been a top priority with over 21 varsity sports competing in the Greater Cleveland Conference.
Russell said they want to expand upon their varsity sports and extracurriculars this spring with the introduction of Euclid High School's first boys volleyball team.
In addition to its sports, the high school's Marching Band has won several awards throughout 2022 and Russell said they hope to invest further in its marching bands excellence.
"I am so impressed with the level of musicians we have — hearing the band from the first day, watching them play and compete all season," he said. "They are just amazing. From our vocalists to our instrumentalists, it is something we are bragging about. We are building a music page on our website that we didn't have before.
"We're not just academics, not just athletics, we have great music here, too."
Russell said that although academics and athletics are greatly important, its first priority will always be the academic excellence of its students.
"One of the biggest things we want to do is continue taking positive steps in the right direction to be the best academic institution we can possibly become," he said. "People think about EHS and know the tremendous athletes and performers we have, but I want them to know the tremendous students we have."
Russell said that they have the capacity to be a great academic institution. He said that he wants their students to realize their full potential whether it be academically, athletically, or performance-wise. He said this effort comes down to managing their responses to what challenges they face and help their students prepare for the future.
Euclid High School also hosted a College Application Day Program, which allowed students to meet with college representatives of universities and learn their status of acceptance.
The program worked with 13 colleges in 2022 including Cuyahoga Community College, Eastern Michigan University, Bowling Green State University and University of Akron. It worked alongside students to prepare them for college and then brought the college representatives to them to hand deliver their acceptance status.
Russell said that this was an amazing opportunity for students to showcase all that they have learned throughout their time within the school.
Another big push that EHS is making in 2023 is working alongside the professional development team Focus3 to better connect with their parents, teachers and Students.
"Focus3 is helping us manage our response to our community so, there are skills I talk about on the announcements, we have virtual training modules that our teachers and some students have access to, we have regular professional development."
Russell said that one-way Focus3 is helping is by alleviating the work load their teachers and administrators who meet every couple of weeks to determine what they need for their schedule in the 2023-2024 school year.
"What our objectives are is to increase opportunities and build relationships with students in order to increase academic and elective opportunities for them," Russell said. "So, by bringing back some of the classes that were high-interest for students and really creating a more well-rounded course offering for them."
Russell said they are very proud of their classes and Career Technical Education program. It is because of this program certifications can be earned through the Digital Music Production class, its astronomy class where students can utilize state-of-the-art planetarium, culinary classes, fire and EMS facilities, wood-working studio and welding studio classes.
With 2023 on the horizon Russell said that he hopes that they will be able to usher it in by continuing to work hard to inspire their students to pursue excellence whether it be academic, extracurricular or athletic.