Springfield Public Schools superintendent Grenita Lathan, Wilson's Creek Intermediate School principal Karyn Christy, First Lady Teresa Parson and Missouri Governor Mike Parson pose for a photo following a ceremony to celebrate the school's recent national and state honors. (Photo by Springfield Public Schools)

At the start of the 2021-22 school year, Wilson’s Creek Intermediate School teachers and staff celebrated in masks outside the building after earning Missouri’s Gold Star School honor. About a month later, the school was one of eight in Missouri to earn a national honor as a 2021 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School. The award, which recognizes schools for overall academic excellence as well as progress in closing achievement gaps among different student groups, is in the Wilson’s Creek lobby. But the team held off from fully celebrating that achievement until Monday, when Gov. Mike Parson and first lady Teresa Parson joined Grenita Lathan, superintendent of Springfield Public Schools, to read a proclamation honoring the school.  

Principal Karyn Christy said the event was a great bookend to the school year, and the Blue Ribbon honor shows that students and staff are meeting high expectations that they set for one another and themselves, and that students are showing growth in the process. 

In advance of meeting the governor, Christy said she asked some of the Lions, or students, what is important to the community at Wilson’s Creek. She said the Lions pointed to P.R.I.D.E.

“Our P.R.I.D.E., which is being prepared, respectful, involved, determined and empathetic,” she said. “Students helped us create those words, from ‘pride.’ And students also helped us create our mission statement, which has to do with character and academic growth, growth in both of those.” 

Christy said that former SPS superintendent John Jungmann informed her last year that Wilson’s Creek had been nominated for the national honor. After earning the nomination, the Wilson’s Creek team had to complete a substantial application process. The application, which can be viewed here, explains that the staff members serve as what they call “warm demanders” of their students, and push them to reach their potential “in a disciplined, structured and nurturing environment.” 

“By being warm demanders, we believe love never gives up, is always hopeful, and perseveres through every circumstance,” the application states. “We have been able to maintain our high standards of learning while providing the love and flexible support to achieve and celebrate our best together. We are better together.”

The Wilson’s Creek team celebrated together on Monday, but that’s not the last big event planned for this school year. Christy said that the last celebration of learning before the summer will happen at Urban Air Adventure and Trampoline Park.