GMS peps up for AIR testing


By Dawn Hatfield

GREENVILLE — Students in grades five and six at Greenville Middle School got revved up for this week’s state testing during Monday’s end-of-day pep rally.

Mr. McKibben and his band students welcomed classes into the gymnasium with some lively tunes, setting the stage for an energetic rally. Mrs. Thompson’s choir sang a creative medley, which certainly geared up the students with snippets of songs like Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” included in their performance.

Mr. Chad Curtis, Intervention Specialist and Student Leader Advisor, then took the mic. Committing to the Green Wave life comes naturally to the GHS 1997 alum who is currently raising his own family in the district. One could imagine Curtis telling the same stories and giving similar advice to his own children as he spoke to the crowd of GMS students in the gymnasium, inspiring them by sharing parts of his personal history.

“There will be obstacles in your life that you are going to have to overcome,” Curtis began. “The great thing about school is that you get chances. If something doesn’t go your way, you have people here who care, who want you to succeed, and want to give you another chance.”

When I was your age,” Curtis admitted, “I was not a good student,” as audible gasps of disbelief filled the gym. “If I hadn’t had a teacher who cared about me in fifth grade, I wouldn’t have passed fifth grade.”

Curtis shared that his family life at that time was a “mess.” Split between three homes, his life was disjointed. He credits his success to former Greenville teacher and principal, Mrs. McDonough. “She believed in me. She told me no matter what happens in your life, there are people who love you, care about you, and believe in you. She said, ‘The biggest problem you have,’ as she looked at me, ‘is you do not believe in yourself.’”

Curtis continued, “It took somebody telling me that at your age… in November 1989. I had that teacher look me in the face and tell me my biggest obstacle, my biggest adversity, my biggest problem I had to overcome wasn’t my life or my grades, but it was the fact that I didn’t believe in myself. Because, once you start to believe in what you’re capable of, great things will happen.”

Years later, when Curtis hit another challenging time and considered dropping out of college, his dad asked, “Do you want to work with your back or your brain?” Later, that same day, Curtis opened a fortune cookie at dinner that read, “The harder you work, the luckier you will get.” These two pieces of wisdom convinced him to remain in college and eventually achieve the life he has today. He still holds on to that fortune as a reminder of his important decision.

Curtis spoke with passion saying, “Twice in my life, I was ready to fail, quit, or give up, but I had two people on two separate occasions tell me they believed in me and not to quit, not to give up. We feel the same about you. We believe in you. We want you to get fired up for testing…go into testing and say, ‘I’ve got this! I can do this! I’m good enough! I’m smart enough! I can handle anything because I’m not gonna quit!’”

In addition to the powerful personal testimony of Mr. Curtis, students were encouraged to do three important things during testing week:

1. Go to bed early.

2. Eat a healthy breakfast.

3. Charge iPads.

GMS students begin testing on Tuesday, March 29. Ohio’s Mandatory State Assessments (often referred to as “AIR” testing) is required by the state in grades 3 through 8 for assessment of language arts and mathematics. AIR stands for the American Institutes of Research, the agency that develops and delivers the assessments. Ohio’s State Tests measure student progress toward Ohio’s Learning Standards and help to ensure every Ohio student receives a high-quality education.

The Spring 2022 Testing Windows are listed below with school districts required to select 15 consecutive school days, including makeups, within each test window:

*English language arts — March 14 to April 15, 2022

*Mathematics, science, and social studies — March 28 to May 6, 2022

Additional testing information may be obtained at

Dawn Hatfield covers education stories for The Daily Advocate. Have a school-related event to share? Reach out by email at [email protected] or by phone at 937-569-0066.

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