This article was originally published in the summer 2013 Harker Quarterly. Read the complete issue at http://bit.ly/10W17nX.
In an effort to realign its recognition of outstanding students with its mission as a school, Harker has revamped its year-end awards format. This K-12 initiative will recognize students who not only have excelled academically but have also demonstrated other qualities that exemplify the school’s overall goals.
“Basically, we feel that it no longer makes sense to determine the best in a variety of categories when we have such an exceptional group of students,” said Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs. “That said, we still believe strongly in recognizing students for their efforts and hard work.”
To that end, the year-end awards now honor students who particularly reflect the school’s effort to instill love of learning, commitment to service, leadership abilities and other qualities crucial to Harker’s mission.
In grades 1-5, students will receive citizenship awards for meeting or exceeding expectations in all courses and maintaining a clean disciplinary record. An effort award will be given to students who meet or exceed expectations in every course they take.
Middle school students are eligible for the Honor Roll, which includes three categories. Maintaining a grade point average of 3.7 or higher will earn the student an Honor Roll certificate for academic achievement. A citizenship Honor Roll certificate will be awarded to students who meet or exceed expectations in all of their classes and receive no more than two disciplinary hours. For meeting or exceeding expectations in all of their courses, students will receive an Honor Roll certificate for effort. A certificate with a gold ribbon will be awarded to students who earn recognition in all three of these categories.
At the upper school, the community service director will highlight five students for their efforts approximately every other month at a school meeting. These students will receive a community service award, and each awardee will have the opportunity to donate $200 to a charity of his or her choosing.
Students who showed their dedication to the Harker community by serving on the student council or honor council will be honored with a school service recognition certificate.
In grades 4-12, students will be given a love of learning award for showing their dedication to being engaged in the classroom and displaying a genuine passion for their subject. Recipients for these awards will be chosen by teachers, with faculty nominating up to five students they believe worthy of the award. Division heads and deans will then review the list of nominees and decide who will receive the awards. Awardees who were nominated by more than one faculty member will receive a special keepsake along with their certificates, which they receive by mail.
Students in grades 4-12 who best encompass Harker’s philosophy and goals will receive the mission of the school award. As with the love of learning award, teachers will nominate up to five students who they feel exhibit and promote kindness, respect, integrity and intellectual curiosity, while acting as role models to fellow students and helping to strengthen the Harker community. The list of nominees will be reviewed by each campus’ respective division head and dean, and the awardees will be mailed their certificates. Those students who were recognized by more than one faculty member will receive a special keepsake.
At the upper school, a leadership award has been introduced, which will honor students who have successfully enlisted the help of others in achieving a goal that benefits and strengthens the Harker community. The process for selecting recipients for this award is similar to that of the love of learning and mission of the school awards. Upper school teachers will select up to two students in their classes who they believe are worthy of the award. After the list is evaluated by the upper school division head and dean, the award recipients will be mailed their certificates, and those who were nominated by more than one faculty member will receive a memento with their certificates.