The Renaissance Program, at Powell High School, supports activities such as Winter Wishes, which provides a holiday gift to every student. In 2019, principal Chad Smith, facilitator Julie Liford, and teacher Beth Mooney took a moment to celebrate a successful Winter Wishes celebration.

An effort to build positivity has resulted in national recognition for a Knox County high school.

Powell High School was recently designated a Platinum-level School of Distinction by the Jostens Renaissance program, which celebrates schools that are making a positive impact on their climate and culture.

Beth Mooney, a science teacher and Renaissance faculty sponsor, said PHS has participated in the Renaissance program for more than two decades, but has renewed its focus on the initiative recently.

Renaissance emphasizes six R-themed priorities: respect, recognize, reward, reinforce, relationships and results. To that end, Mooney said Powell sponsors a variety of activities, including pep rallies, positive messages and events such as Winter Wishes, in which every Powell student receives a holiday gift before Winter Break.

To earn the Platinum distinction, Powell met 14 benchmarks, in areas including social media messaging; recognition of students and faculty; and a commitment to graduation.

Mooney said PHS teachers and staff are focused on students, adding that “We want to make this an inclusive place and promote a family feel where everyone is welcome.”

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