Hacking Awards

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Today was our honor assembly for semester one at MVPS. I really liked how in the opening speech it talked about how there was so much to honor, such as the determination, creativity, leadership, and service skills shown by so many students at MVPS. The idea was that is wasn’t just about the grades and the numbers.

I totally agree with this philosophy. There is a lot of students work that should be honored. However, in the end, the awards (also known as sheets of paper) given out to people were entirely based on grades and numbers. It is two very different things to say that we want to honor people for more than grades versus actually giving awards that aren’t just based on grades.

Students before and after the awards ceremony all talked about how first semester honors assembly isn’t all that exciting or meaningful because just about everyone gets an award, and because of the weighted GPA’s we have, it isn’t very hard to make at least a 3.5 to get one of the 2 awards. It is second semester awards where people are actually recognized individually for specific reasons by teachers. Each class has an award, and then there is also the MVPS mindset awards. These actually mean something to us because people get given recognition and every one is told what that person did to get recognized that isn’t just “they did well on assignments”.

Numbers can’t always account for the hard work, passion, motivation, curiosity, and participation of students. After the ceremony someone even suggested, “What if there was a 3rd award that was just given to those in the top 10%? At least that would make one award a little harder to get and therefore feel like more of an accomplishment.”  I’d like to go a step farther and say, “Why not just have different awards given that truly honor the skills of students beyond their grades?”

I also wonder why the award itself is just a piece of paper and your name called out loud. When being inducted into the National Jr. Honor Society they at least gave the people that were inducted the special privilege to leave with your parents or a friend to go off campus for lunch. What if the honors assembly had a festival or party type atmosphere to really capture this idea of celebration? What if everyone was given balloons instead of paper? What if you got to be out of uniform the next school day if you got a specific award? What if there was food and music?

What if we reimagined what an “honors assembly” means and looks like?

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