Washington High School was honored by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) for qualifying as a 5-Star Leadership School for the 2011-12 school year.

WHS was one of only 27 schools in the state to receive the award.

Bill Deckelman, WHS activities director, shared the news at the school board meeting last Wednesday. He also brought along three students who attended a sportsmanship summit this past August.

“This is a tremendous honor for our students, coaches and parents,” Deckelman said. “We worked extremely hard to make this award a reality. It is a reflection of the discipline, integrity and dedication we encourage at Washington High School.”

Qualifying schools earn a championship banner to hang in the gymnasium and a digital banner to post on the school website.

Deckelman said WHS will receive its banner at halftime of the Homecoming football game against Fort Zumwalt East Oct. 12.

He also told the board how an athletic advisory council has been formed at the high school to promote sportsmanship both on and off the field. The council is encouraging the various sports teams to support other athletes during the school year.

“We’re seeing a change already from starting this council,” Deckelman told the board. “Members of the soccer and baseball teams recently came out to a volleyball game to support the girls and that was great to see . . . and we want to see this catch on to other groups and students not involved in athletics.”

Eventually, Deckelman wants to bring the council to the middle school level.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer told the students and Deckelman that she is very proud of the work that’s been done.

In a letter to the school, MSHSAA Associate Executive Director Stacy Schroeder said “by obtaining this distinction, it demonstrates that Washington High School truly believes in and emphasizes sportsmanship, citizenship, leadership and respect in its activities programs.”

The 5-Star Leadership School Program was established in 2010 as a joint venture between MSHSAA, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character Program and Musco Sports Lighting, LLC that expanded on MSHSAA’s long-standing Leadership School Program.

The program encourages MSHSAA member schools to become even more active in regard to sportsmanship, character education and citizenship. There are five requirements schools must meet to win the award annually:

• Attend the MSHSAA Sportsmanship Summit.

• Meet all MSHSAA Leadership School requirements.

• Complete the NAIA Champions of Character Program online coaches training.

• Attend the MIAAA Spring Conference.

• Train parents, participants and coaches using the NAIA Champions of Character Program.