Celebrating Students!

Yesterday, at our board meeting a group of our high school students presented on what they did over their "summer vacation." The 20 or so kids that presented didn't hang out at the pool or head to the beach. Instead, these dedicated students attended various academic and extracurricular camps all around the world.

We had students that attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Program. One attended the Gold Leadership Camp, some went to Boys' State and Girls' State. Other went to honors colloquiums at UT Austin and Texas A&M. We had several attend the San Antonio PREP Program. One went to West Point. One competed in a national bowling championship in Las Vegas. We even have one young girl that spent six weeks in the Ukraine helping disabled children!

As I sat and listened to them, two things came to mind. One was a sense of pride of how wonderful our students are. The second was a sense of dismay over the fact that I didn't hear about any of this in the local media. There was not a single newspaper article. Not one new story. Not even a blip on a billboard about the sacrifices these students (and many like them around our country) made. There was no public celebration of the hard work that they did all summer long. It seemed to go unnoticed by the media and by the public at large.

Society too often criticizes today's youth about being selfish or self-centered. Our students that presented proved that's not always the case. But do we celebrate their successes? If the media is not going to do it, then we as educators need to do it ourselves. We should take every opportunity to applaud the hard efforts of students like this. Post these storieson our websites. E-mail other parents about it. Celebrate the successes with other teachers.

The truth is students like these don't really need our praises. These students are inherently motivated. But kind words and congratulations never hurt anybody. And your kind words just might inspire other students to follow in their footsteps.


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