Neenah High School students win Spirit of Excellence Award

An all-school assembly at Neenah High School, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. (WLUK/Chad Doran)
An all-school assembly at Neenah High School, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. (WLUK/Chad Doran)

NEENAH - Students at Neenah High School are making a difference. They received statewide recognition for leadership, service and sportsmanship.

A standing ovation at the all-school assembly Monday morning was fitting for Neenah High School. After all, it was the students who put in the time and effort to win the Spirit of Excellence Award and better themselves and their community in the process.

"We already knew in our hearts we were the best, but to have confirmation from a state governing board, that's just another level, it was pretty awesome,” said Nick Munce, Neenah High School senior.

One of many examples of the students making a difference in their community came during homecoming. The week of school spirit was highlighted by student-led efforts to raise more than $13,000 for a fellow student diagnosed with a brain infection. Tutoring elementary school students, success in sports, theater and academics were also areas of strength for the school. The award is given by a panel made up of different statewide school organizations.

Schools from around the state submitted applications in a competitive selection process.

"It ended up being an 84-page paper,” said Trevor Nelson, Neenah High School senior.

Students said it was hard to choose from among the many activities that take place in these halls.

"It's pretty impressive to see everything this school can do and accomplish when it works together,” said Munce.

And students say putting the application together was a learning experience in itself.

"There is so much stuff going on here that I didn't even know about, it was kind of eye-opening,” said Nelson.

Featuring the kind of leadership school officials are proud of.

"It's a validation of all the hard work that our staff and our students put into making school more than just school,” said Neenah High School Principal Brian Wunderlich.

And a nice piece of hardware for the trophy case too.

"Who doesn't like a big trophy right?" said Munce.

The school will also be recognized next month during a Milwaukee Bucks game and the state boys basketball tournament.