DUNLAP Ill. (WMBD) — Starting the new school year, the halls and classrooms of Dunlap High School are filled with eager learners.

Dunlap High School was ranked number one by U.S. News among the high schools in the Peoria Metro Area.

District 323 Superintendent Scott Dearman said the high praise has brought more people to the Dunlap area.

“We were the only district in central Illinois to grow even throughout the pandemic and a lot of that is due to word of mouth. We’re a district that is recommended to them for a reason and that speaks highly of the district and that also helps us to stay strong and continue to grow,” said Dearman.

More than 95% of the graduating class of 2023 went on to further their education at a two or four-year college.

Chris Bergschneider has been teaching social studies for more than two decades.

He said he wants his students to learn something of value from his class that they’ll take with them long after they leave the halls of Dunlap High.

“In here we’re not big on memorization of historical facts we’re big on becoming better communicators, becoming better with articulation and getting their points across. Defending a position, analyzing, synthesizing like those things that whatever they’re doing in ten years are going to be beneficial to them cause after the information has been forgotten then what’s still there,” said Bergschneider.

Dunlap High School is ranked 176 out of more than 10,000 school districts in America.