EDITORIAL: When our youth succeed, it’s cause to celebrate

The Anniston Star is responsible for reporting the news and calling out faults wherever they exist with the goal of making the communities we cover better.

But we also relish the opportunities to point out what’s good about our communities, and this week our local youth offered multiple reasons to tip our hat.

Friday’s front page carried two different stories about two celebrations for very different reasons.

Anniston High senior Tahj Jones was recognized during the school’s annual awards ceremony Thursday morning for earning a 30 on the ACT college entrance exam. As part of that recognition, Jones received a $500 check, which Principal Charles Gregory offers to every student who scores a 30 or higher on the exam. This highest possible score is a 36.

The announcement — which was the highlight of awards to numerous students for making A or A/B honor roll and other achievements — was met with a standing ovation from hundreds of students and parents.

The other front page news was provided by the Donoho Falcons girls volleyball team, which won the 1A state championship Thursday night.

It was the 11th state title for Donoho and came in dramatic fashion after the team had to overcome a significant deficit well into the game.

As reporter Joe Medley noted, Donoho won championships in 1979, 1980, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2011, 2012 and now again in 2019. Those early titles set an example and helped establish a track record of what’s possible.

Principal Gregory aims to set a similar pattern at Anniston.

“People thought a 4-minute mile was impossible until Roger Bannister ran one in 1954,” he said in an article by The Star’s Tim Lockette. “Since then, 14,000 people have run a 4-minute mile. Tahj Jones is our Roger Bannister.”

Anniston and Donoho’s accomplishments were both the result of hard work — time spent practicing and studying and drilling and sacrifice, turning down opportunities to do other things that might have seemed more fun but far less rewarding.

Congratulations to Jones and to the state champion Donoho Falcons volleyball team, and to all our students who work hard in the classroom and in sports. Success is not a secret stumbled upon by a fortunate few; it’s a pattern embraced and followed by the determined.

As Jones said: “You just have to put in the hard work. You just have to do it. Even if you don’t feel like doing it, just do it and the results will come.”

And one other thing: On Friday, the state Education Department released its annual list of failing schools under the Alabama Accountability Act.

None of our schools were on it. But, of course, we don’t need a report to tell us that none of our kids are failures.