Heritage kids have global impact

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The Heritage High School Class of 2013 has a lot to brag about.

The school is on U.S. News and World Report’s list of best high schools, chosen from across the nation based on state proficiency standards and how well they prepare students for college. It’s also on the Washington Post’s list of America’s most challenging high schools, which includes about 1,900 public and private schools from across the country.

In April, the students honored one of their own with the Lone Survivor Obstacle Course, part of the school’s always successful MAD Week. “MAD” stands for “Make a Difference,” and they do. They’ve raised more than $115,000 since 2006 and constructed an entire school, Heritage High School of Kabala, in Sierra Leone, Africa. This year they chose to honor Danny Dietz, a Navy SEAL who graduated from Heritage in 1999. Dietz was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. The students raised about $13,000 for two nonprofits with ties to Dietz: The Danny Dietz Leadership and Training Foundation is run by Danny Dietz Sr., and the Lone Survivor Foundation is run by Marcus Luttrell, the only survivor of the attack.

“This senior class has really made a strong impact on the local and global community through their fundraising efforts and their community service toward our sister school in Sierra Leone, The Lone Survivor Project and The Danny Dietz Foundation,” said Principal Stacey Riendeau. “They have answered the call time and time again to not only excel academically, but to change the lives of others.”

Also in the works are major improvements to the school’s entrance, including tables, landscaping, trees, a plaza and a new walkway. Students have been involved at every step in the planning. The Parent-Teacher Organization created the Heritage Legacy Project, encouraging alumni, businesses and the community at large to buy a brick, engraved with their name, to help pave the more welcoming facade and forever be a part of the school.

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