DALTON, GA (WRCB)- Dalton High student Efra Uscanga is isn't letting a little "spring senior-itis" get in the way of celebrating his school's achievements. A product of the Dalton school system since the age of 5, Efra is proud of what he's accomplished, with the help of caring teachers.
Some family problems forced Efra to move in with his older sister several years ago. Determined to succeed, Efra has packed his schedule with Advanced Placement classes, earning college credit. He'll enter college this fall with enough credits to enroll as a sophomore; one of many students graduating from Dalton with a big head start.
Principal Debbie Freeman points with pride at students like Efra, and teachers like David Hilley, a 13-year veteran of Dalton High. His AP Statistics class is one of the reasons Dalton is being recognized by the state for its excellence in the STEM program: science, technology, engineering and math.
Hilley said, "There are some schools out there that don't have the curriculum we do, it can be pretty demanding. But we're telling these students, if you want to get ahead, you have have the opportunity in the Dalton public school system."
Dalton is a big school, with almost 1500 students. But Efra says teachers find ways to make sure no one gets lost in the shuffle. "They know about my life, what I've been through, and they ask me about how I'm doing, what I'm up to after school. If I miss a class, they make sure I'm okay." He says that kind of attention is Dalton's recipe for success.
Dalton High was named as an AP Honors School for 2013 by state officials. The school was recognized in four of the five categories: AP Merit School, AP STEM, AP STEM Achievement School and AP Access and Support School. There are a total of 666 high schools in Georgia. Dalton made four out of five lists and was one of only four schools that can make that claim (the fifth list is only for schools with less than 900 students). Of the four schools making all four lists, two were magnet or charter schools, so Dalton High is in pretty exclusive company.
Principal Freeman, who is retiring at the end of the year, said, "I feel like I'm leaving at a good time, and it will be in good hands with (new principal) Steve Bartoo. This is a great place to be."