Hancock High students recognized for many achievements

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Faculty and staff and Hancock High have implemented a program to recognize students for their achievements. The Renaissance program not only showcases academic achievements, it points out anything from high attendance to those who succeed in the art department.

This program has been implemented only a short time. And within three years it has proven to be a success.

Trey Vernaci said, "It just made a big difference like the whole entire school a better environment with all the painting and all that. It makes it more welcoming. It just looked so institutionalized with all the white walls and that was it."

Senior Trey Vernaci said the program that recognizes students for their success in many areas has transformed his fellow classmates and the teachers. He said from the colorful murals to the appreciation of no absences, their efforts are rewarded.

"The attendance. People want to come to school because things are going to happen. And it makes our grades go up," said Vernaci.

"The purpose of it is to connect with every student," Principal Rhett Ladner said. "So every student in the high school no matter who they are, where they are from, is connected to this place where it feels like it belongs to them. It's not just a school, it's a home."

Principal Ladner said academics are priority. If you're comfortable in your surroundings, success shines across the board.

"Kids with skateboards, hacky sack kids, also video games. We're starting a video game club. So every kid has their niche where they fit in and they belong. So this gives them an opportunity to be connected, but it's from this your test scores go up because kids feel better about being here," said Ladner.

Vernaci said, "Renaissance has made a really big difference to our school. You can see it just walking through the halls every day. From my freshman year when it wasn't Renaissance to seeing it my next three years of high school, the difference was really dramatic."

Ladner said the school has seen a great academic gain since the program has started.  In the state testing area, the school went from being ranked number 48 in the state to number eight.

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