'New' is the word for Pekin Schools this year

Students at Pekin are filled with Panther Pride for the 2012-2013 school year.

"New" is the word in the Pekin School District for the 2012-2013 school year. The district is kicking off the new year with new elementary and middle school principals and a new interim superintendent, Fred Whipple.

"My goal is to help them transition to next year, get things in line and just try to create the best climate possible for next year and for them to do the changes necessary," Whipple said. "My focus this year has been on Panther Pride or Pekin Pride, and making sure everyone is proud of what they do, proud of their facility and do the things necessary so that at the end of the day, they can look back and say, 'You know what, I gave it my all today and if it didn't work out, tomorrow I'm going to start fresh again and I'm going to do the very best job I can do'."

Another project - a new kitchen in the works, along with a new menu, cooking equipment and serving area. An architect has been hired and Whipple says the project is in the works to be done next summer.

Meanwhile, Pekin is in its third year of its pioneer 1:1 program, where Mac laptops and iPads are available on a 2:1 ratio for students K-5 and on a 1:1 ratio for grades 6-12. The use of technology in the classroom puts Pekin students at the cutting edge, and the distinguishing features don't stop there.

The school faculty said Pekin is truly unique because the elementary, middle and high school buildings are all connected, making the school district truly the hub of the community. From sports games to fundraising events and more, residents from all around flock to the Pekin schools to show their Panther Pride.

"It's a great school, great kids, great people here," Whipple said. "I can't imagine anyone not wanting to attend this school."