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Shine On: Students prep for test success

Dr. Mike McQueen, a surgeon in Enterprise and former FRES student, talks to students at his old school Feb. 19 during the school’s Time to Shine rally. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Dr. Mike McQueen, a surgeon in Enterprise and former FRES student, talks to students at his old school Feb. 19 during the school’s Time to Shine rally. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Published: February 27, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (February 27, 2014) -- It always feels good to be recognized for a job well done, but students at Fort Rucker Elementary School were rewarded last week before they were even able to prove their greatness.

According to Vicki Gilmer, FRES principal, the students always do a wonderful job on the Terra Nova standardized assessments that they underwent this week and always perform above the national average. So, to reward them on their job well done, before the job even started, the school had a few visitors to reward the children and help get them fired up about taking their standardized tests.

The Enterprise Encores performed their “Shine On” show during the school’s Time to Shine rally Feb. 19 and former FRES student Dr. Mike McQueen, a surgeon in Enterprise, spoke to the children about not giving up when times get hard and the best ways to prepare for a test.

“The past three years the students have surpassed their own achievements and the increases in the test scores have been phenomenal. That is why the Time to Shine rally was implemented. We want to continue to support our students and recognize their success,” said Gilmer.

The students began the school year with a Mission Possible event. This event had students work through stations where they learned about the school-wide goals. The students also learned how to set goals and how to design a plan to meet those goals. They then selected individual goals for the year, said the principal.

“We are celebrating all the good work they have done this year and the good scores that we know we will receive. We are going to shine through the testing next week,” said Gilmer. “We want to teach them that this is a time to shine, not something to be worried or nervous about.

“Last year we went through accreditation and we scored the second highest out of all (Department of Defense Education Activity) schools worldwide. We really take seriously taking care of our military Families,” she continued.

The highlight of the rally was the performance of the Encores’ award-winning show.

The entire school participates in the rally, although second graders do not take the test. Older students, though, said they are not worried about the test and that they feel totally prepared.

“I got a 98 percent last year, so I am just going to try to beat that this year,” said Abby Morris, sixth grader. “It’s not bad because we only take the test for one period a day, but we do it all week. So it’s nice that it is spaced out for us. And I like that we get the show today. It is like they are saying, ‘We know you are going to do well, so here is your reward ahead of time.’” 

The test is ranked nationally and the school has ranked above average for as long as Gilmer can remember. The five testing areas include multiple choice and written sections. The written sections are several of the student’s favorite part.

“You can really put your voice into the responses, so I like it better. I like being able to express my feelings,” said Shekinah McDaniel, sixth grade. “Sometimes when I get nervous during other parts of the test I just breathe in and out to calm myself and relax. I know I will do pretty amazing.”

The rally concluded with the school performing its special musical number “We Got This” to entertain the show choir.

This article was originally published at

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