Sweet Water ranked among top 25 public schools

Published 11:51 pm Monday, October 2, 2023

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Sweet Water High School has been ranked among the top 25 best public schools in Alabama – 17th for best public high school and 15th for best middle school – on the annual Niche.com list of public schools. Rankings are based on academic grades, including SAT/ACT scores and state assessments, culture and diversity, parent and student surveys, teacher salaries, absenteeism, clubs, activities, and facilities.

Marengo County Superintendent Luke Hallmark expressed his pride in Sweet Water’s accomplishment.

“It makes me feel good for the community and everyone who has worked with the school and they’re involvement to make things better,” said Hallmark.

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Hallmark said Sweet Water being recognized is important because they were there with some of the schools that are considered elite such as Homewood and Fairhope.

“It just goes to show you that being from a small or rural area there are some ways to compete with those schools. It’s not an “I” award, it’s a “We” award,” said Hallmark. “There are a lot of parts to this award that make it possible such as the school board that has allowed us to put people in place to get to this point.”

Hallmark went on to name the school administration, people who work with instructional leadership, math and reading coaches, principals, and the teachers who are the ones that put everything in place to best help students grow. Hallmark also said that the student body has to “buy in” and be receptive to what their teachers are teaching. Parents also play a large role in the school’s success.

“We appreciate all the support that our parents can provide to their children or the school. Any way they can help in a positive way, we’re appreciative,” said Hallmark. “And there’s also the community itself. When you have a school like Sweet Water that’s very community involved, it makes you feel better that they have something the community supports.”

While the school will not receive a tangible award for making the top 25, Hallmark said the biggest reward anyone can receive is simply knowing that they accomplished it.

“When it gets down to it and your name is recognized with all these other schools, just to know that you were a part of this is enough of an award in my opinion,” said Hallmark. “We have a nice school down there and they work together and understand how important it is to have an education. Sweet Water has let it be known throughout the state that just because you’re a small or rural area doesn’t mean you can’t compete with the big boys.”