The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

May 13, 2013

Mutual admiration: Academic Team members thank teachers for inspiration, drive

JOPLIN, Mo. — Even though he dropped the egg, J.W. Keckley appreciated the chance to throw it.

The task was part of an assignment in Lori Good's gifted class at Carl Junction Junior High School when Keckley, now a senior, was in sixth grade. Students got to throw eggs into a sheet as part of a lesson.

Right before Keckley's release, the egg slipped out and made a mess on the floor. The rest of the class erupted in laughter.

But he remembered the event fondly, and pointed to it as a sign of how Good expressed her passion for teaching and made learning fun.

"The first time I went into her classroom, I saw how immensely devoted she was, for what she did for students," Keckley said. "What I got out of that is whatever I do with my life, I hope it's something I can be as passionate about as she is."

Members of The Joplin Globe's All-Area Academic Excellence Team thanked teachers for inspiring them to push themselves during a recognition banquet Monday at Missouri Southern State University.

The team's 22 members each chose a teacher who inspired their academic success the most. During the banquet, each team member and teacher spoke briefly about their time together in the classroom and the impact it had on one another.

"(Keckley) had a tremendous influence on me," Good said. "If you had any idea how much you influence us, it would amaze you."

Making the grade

Sponsored by MSSU, making the team is not easy to do. Featuring the best of the best students, the team is modeled after athletic teams that combine the best players from around the region.

Students make the team based on a score developed from a student's grade point average and ACT or SAT score. The formula used to pick winners ensures that top quality students make the team -- not just those who test well.

The formula is similar to one used by the Missouri Scholars 100 program. Monday marked the 27th year the Globe has named a team. Started by Ron Lankford in 1987 when he was the superintendent of the Webb City School District, the team is one of the longest-running programs of its kind in Missouri.

Lankford, now deputy commissioner for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, attended Monday's banquet -- despite announcing his retirement from it two years ago.

"I'm glad to stay unretired from this," he said.

In addition to the 22 team members, 21 other students were named to the team's honor roll.

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