Photos by Rome City Schools

The roar from the crowd at Barron Stadium on Friday nights was rivaled by an enthusiastic audience gathered in Rome High’s theater for their first annual High Five Event.

Dr. Eric Holland, Principal at Rome High, and educators tasked with teaching some of the schools most rigorous curriculum invited family, friends and Advanced Placement (AP) students to the school for a reception.

“We have over 470 students enrolled in an AP classes here at Rome High,” said Amanda Howell, AP English Literature teacher. “We wanted to take a moment and recognize these students for their hard work because these students are taking college level classes. Students from grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 enroll in these classes and many receive college credit before they graduate.”

Howell said the purpose of this day was twofold. Not only did the school want to congratulate those students who actually earned college credit last May, but they also wanted to honor those students who rose to the challenge of enrolling in AP classes.

"Currently, we have 188 students who will have credit when they start college and that is not counting our students who have already graduated."

“Currently, we have 188 students who will have credit when they start college and that is not counting our students who have already graduated,” Howell explained. “We are highlighting their dedication and commitment to excellence in academics. We offer 23 AP courses, ranging from AP Human Geography to AP Psychology. Physics, calculus and literature are also among the classes available at Rome. Some of our students start off with one class and work their way up to four or five during their senior year.”

Parents of students who earned a top score were invited to a special celebration in honor of their students earning a five on their AP exams last spring. These students are now a part of Rome High’s “High Five Club.” This accomplishment was rewarded with a reception in the library after the assembly where the scholars were presented with a yard sign that lists all AP students who scored a five on a large hand. This sign can be placed in families’ yard, so that they can announce their dedication to academics to their neighbors. The yard sign, courtesy of Phillip Gaines owner of High Tech Signs, was a way Rome High hoped to spread the word about their educational opportunities and serve as a visual representation of their students’ high level of performance in the classroom.

Other AP students were treated to snacks in the cafeteria, courtesy of Rome High’s PTO. Teachers also hung stars from the ceiling in the entranceway to the school. Red stars were raised for scoring three, silver stars for scoring a four and gold for a score of five. They were also awarded with tumblers commemorating the first ever High Five event.

“When my wife and I decided to come to Rome, the AP program was a huge selling point for this system,” said Dr. Holland. “The AP classes offered were impressive and I wanted to be a part of that. We have amazing minds walking the halls of Rome High School every day. It is an honor for us to show over 400 students how proud we are of them. We are celebrating their academic success on a day that is all about them.”

When detailing the origins of this event, Dr. Holland stayed true to the philosophy he uses in his approach to leading a school.

“We have a really strong student government here in our school. I asked them to help us to celebrate our successes and find creative ways to show our appreciation to them. To have 484 children take AP classes and to have 95 AP Scholars is phenomenal,” Dr. Holland smiled. “We never want to forget how prestigious that accomplishment is. This day is evidence of the hard work put in by our students, our teachers and our parents. This was a total team effort and that is what we are all about. One Rome!”