Archive for Wednesday, January 16, 2008

THS assembly recognizes students who stand out

January 16, 2008

They might not have the best grades in their class; they may not be the most gifted or best behaved.

But each of the 46 students honored last week at Tonganoxie High School have done things to get their teachers to notice how outstanding they've been in the past nine weeks.

"It could be a grade improvement," THS Principal Jamie Carlisle said. "It could be an attitude improvement. It could just be exceptional, everyday hard work that's a cut above the rest that a lot of our students have. It was completely up to the teacher. They work with the kids every single day."

THS students agree the awards assembly Wednesday to honor the students was a nice way to encourage students to make improvements or to do outstanding work.

"I think it's a good program," THS senior Jake Bontrager said. "It helps to recognize students that aren't always recognized. When we usually recognize students in our school, it's either for academics specifically, or athletics. This allows the kids that sometimes fall under the radar to be seen."

Wyatt Coffin picks up his special education teacher, Rick Heuer, as a way to thank him after Heuer gave Coffin an award for his work during the second quarter at Wednesday's awards assembly. Medals and renewed "charge cards" were handed out.

Wyatt Coffin picks up his special education teacher, Rick Heuer, as a way to thank him after Heuer gave Coffin an award for his work during the second quarter at Wednesday's awards assembly. Medals and renewed "charge cards" were handed out.

Bontrager was given a medal from Kathy Walker, the school's counselor, for getting a 35 on his ACT.

Besides the medals given to the 46 students by their teachers, the school also honored 350 students with a renewed charge card. The charge card system, which Carlisle said is a form of the old renaissance program started by Jostens, the THS yearbook publisher, lets students get out for lunch 4 minutes earlier and lets them be in a drawing for prizes during the quarterly award ceremonies.

The gold charge card lets students get out early for lunch every day of the week. To get the gold card, students must have a GPA of 3.7 to 4.0. A red card lets students get out to lunch early on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For a red card, students must have a GPA 3.25 to 3.69.

Finally, a white card lets students get out early for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A white card has a GPA requirement of 2.5 to 3.24. Besides the GPA requirements, students who have charge cards also have fewer than two absences and no disciplinary referrals, as well as no failing grades.

Carlisle said he was happy that out of the 583 students at the school, so many were eligible for the charge cards.

"It really promotes attendance and academic achievement," said Jessica Johnston, THS art teacher who coordinates the charge card program with her leadership class. "It has just become a great program. Our attendance has improved."

Besides the early lunch, there is more incentive for students to keep their cards. Johnston said her leadership class will randomly go into classes, and students who have their cards on them will get extra snacks. Students who keep their cards through the quarter can also enter in a drawing for a variety of prizes including movies and gift cards to restaurants, retail stores and gasoline stations.

- Grant Ebbert, a student intern at The Mirror, contributed to this report.

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