Port St. Joe -- For the second year in a row, Gulf County has earned the honor of having the highest graduation rate in the state.
Certainly Gulf County is proud of their athletic achievements, but their recent string of success is on a larger scale. Gulf County has the highest high school graduation rate in the state, and has been amongst the highest in the state for a number of years.
By comparison, the graduation rates of other area counties hover around or below the state average of 81.2%.
The string of success brings joy to the mind of Gulf County Superintendent, Jim Norton.
“Having had the highest graduation rate in the state of Florida with a 95.8 graduation rate, that also yields for us that we have the lowest drop-out rate in the state of Florida” said Jim Norton, Gulf County Superintendent.
Gulf County only has two high schools. For the new principal of Port St. Joe Junior Senior High School, Jeremy Knapp has only been in charge for a few months. Knowing the high level of expectations, he says he understands he has some big shoes to fill.
“It’s a great feeling, but it also adds to the stress. I’ve walked into a pretty good situation and it’s just my hope I can continue to build upon the success” said Jeremy Knapp, Port St. Joe Junior Senior High School Principal.
School administrators say the secret to getting a 95.8 percent graduation rate is simple, and that is getting to know the students.
Gulf County has fewer students compared to other counties, but that presents some challenges such as less funding among other obstacles.
“Being a smaller school, it only takes one or two students for our numbers to drop pretty drastically so we have to make sure we’re in touch with each and every one of our students” said Knapp.
Norton also mentioned how the community taking part in its schools has played a helpful role into Gulf County’s success.