EVANSVILLE, INDIANA — An old hotel turned into a school building, Signature School in Evansville is not like most other high schools. And it isn’t just the architecture or its location right in the heart of the city’s downtown that sets it apart.
“You have to do more than is expected of you as a teenager,” Signature junior Arjun Dhawan said.
“We all study constantly every weekend, every night,” junior Abby Grillo said.
Signature School prides itself on its challenging curriculum and high standard of academics. It received national recognition this week from the Washington Post and U.S. News. The Washington Post named Signature School as No. 9 on its list of most challenging schools in the nation, ranking it first overall in the Midwest. U.S. News named the school as the 18th-best school in the country, and first overall in the Hoosier state.
“It’s kind of a sense of pride you get from that,” Dhawan said. “You’re attending one of the top schools in the country.”
“We put in a lot of hard work,” sophomore Nia Rochon said. “We take a lot of hard tests and we take a lot of hard classes.”
“It’s nice to have that top 10,” Jean Hitchcock, Signature School’s executive director, said. “It’s nice in U.S. News to have that 18. It’s the first time we’ve broken 20, the top 20 in U.S. News, so we’re thrilled.”
“At Signature, they’ll assign a paper, we’ll turn that paper in and we’ll start a new lesson that day,” senior Andrew Beaver said.
Beaver, who will be studying law at Indiana University this fall, said Signature School’s rigorous academic program has prepared him well for college.
“If they treat us like we’re responsible adults and give us that responsibility, we kind of step up to the plate and show how responsible we are,” he said.
“If you treat young people with the expectation that they will behave responsibly and respectfully, they tend to do that,” Hitchcock said.
“It puts a lot of responsibility on us as students here, but it also shows that our teachers and people we’re working with respect us and value us as adults or young adults, really,” Rochon said.
While the rankings may just be numbers, for students and faculty at Signature School, they’re proof that hard work really does pay off.