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SWHS ranked among state’s best

A list of top public high schools in Alabama was released Feb. 5 and Sweet Water High School was among them, being recognized at number 22. The middle school was ranked even higher, at number 17.

The list was compiled by Niche, a company that researches schools, colleges and businesses. Niche touts a rigorous analysis of data in reaching their conclusions, which they combine with community feedback.

According to Marengo County Schools Superintendent Luther Hallmark said the high ranking is the culmination of efforts throughout the school and within the Sweet Water community.

“Sweet Water High School is a hard working school that values the importance of an education. The faculty and staff have tremendous collaboration among one another and this fits the mold for academic success. Also, the parental involvement and community support add to the high expectations for each student to succeed,” Hallmark said.

The high school rankings was determined by stats such as state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, and teacher quality.

While Sweet Water has long been known for its state championships in sports, Hallmark said that reputation has now expanded into academics.

“Today, when Sweet Water High School is mentioned, people not only know about the many state championships but also the high academic achievements that have been accomplished through their commitment to settle for nothing but the best,” he said.

Hallmark added that it is the attitude of the faculty, staff, and students that has brought Sweet Water to such a high standard.

“They unequivocally know that it doesn’t take a multi-million dollar school with a tremendous amount of local funding to meet the goals of Alabama’s State Department of Education. They will all tell you it’s what is on the inside of the building and their pride that makes them a champion,” Hallmark said.

SWHS received its highest grades from Niche in the areas of teachers, clubs and activities, administration, diversity, and health and safety. The school received B-plus grades for academics, food, college prep, sports, and resources and facilities.

“I give a tremendous amount of credit to our school board for believing in the administration and what we are accomplishing,” Hallmark said. “For Sweet Water High School to be mentioned among the elite high schools such as Mountain Brook, Homewood, Hoover, and Auburn is truly amazing. The work being done by the administration, students, and staff at SWHS is focused on rigorous instruction and high expectations. The entire community is a part of the family-like atmosphere that embodies the belief of success. The excellent rankings are a result of hard work, commitment, and integrity.”

Hallmark said SWHS’s ranking is the latest good news for the system, and hopes for more in the future.

“The entire Marengo County School System is committed to the work that it takes to achieve greatness,” he said. “Marengo High School recently received a state report card grade of a B, a huge improvement from last year and this was the result of their efforts for growth. Amelia L. Johnson High School is also showing improvements that are centered around growth and dedication. We believe that many additional success stories will be coming from all of our schools in the future.”