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The City Journals

South Jordan, Elk Ridge middle schools recognize students

Dec 02, 2016 03:42PM ● By Julie Slama

Elk Ridge Middle School Students can earn the bronze, silver, gold and platinum Wapiti medals.

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

South Jordan and Elk Ridge middle schools are recognizing students who show school spirit, boost in academics and dedicate time to the community.

“We’re wanting kids to be recognized for the great things they’re doing, and we’re making it a big deal,” South Jordan Middle School Assistant Principal Tim Heumann said. “Whether they’re being kind, hard working or doing something amazing, we want to cheer them on.”

Heumann said there are several recognitions, starting with Student of the Day, which teachers pick. Students receive a school shirt, a pencil and a coupon for a hamburger or candy bar. The names of the students of the day are announced over the intercom, and parents are made aware of the honor.

“It is one of the best things I get to do — when I get to call a parent and say, ‘Your child is our student of the day,’” he said.

Students also are selected as Students of the Month. Before school, the Parent-Teacher-Student Association puts on a light breakfast for the award recipients and their parents. Students receive a stuffed Silver Leopard mascot and a plaque. 

“It’s really a special ceremony and impactful for families. We talk about how the students and the difference they’re making,” he said.

Students are nominated for the award by teachers who may cite examples of academics, citizenship, improvement, hard-work, service or things students are doing, Heumann said.

“We also give out high-fives to students who improve their academics by .5 percent, recognizing them with a pencil,” he said. “We have a no-tardy party and one for those who make honor roll. We have a spirit award where students are applauded for going out to give service. We want students to be involved and realize this is their school — a positive place to be, where they are built up and valued.” 

At Elk Ridge, students are also recognized as Students of the Day. Those recognized students have their name posted on the school marquee and receive a certificate.

“We read their names on the announcements and summarize what they have done,” Elk Ridge Assistant Principal Michelle Kilcrease said. “It may be someone who has struggled has met the goals they’ve set to something as simple as picking up a binder someone dropped.”

Elk Ridge Students of the Month usually are selected for their tie-in to a leadership trait. Students, who are nominated by their teachers, receive a breakfast, plaque and gift bag, and their names are broadcast on the intercom.

Another way students are recognized are through the words of their teachers.

“Teachers write postcards, ‘Good News from the Ridge,’ where they recognize the great things students are doing,” Kilcrease said. “We have 1,100 great kids, and we want to recognize them.” 

The Wapiti Award is one students can earn all three years of their middle school career.

In seventh grade, students can earn the bronze medallion, named after the school mascot, the Wapiti. 

Students can earn pointes for 100 percent attendance each quarter, a grade-point average of 3.8 or higher, not having any tardies, auditioning for the musical, participating in school program such as ballroom dance or Lego robotics, performing a service project outside of school, participating in the Goblin Chase school fun run, being part of the PTSA, playing on a sports team or several other ways, Kilcrease said. 

“Each criteria is worth a certain number of points,” she said. “Once students have earned this, then we honor them at a catered banquet and ceremony at the end of the year.” 

In eighth grade, students can receive the silver Wapiti medal and in ninth grade, the gold Wapiti medallion. If the student earns all three, they are awarded a platinum medal.

Principal Wyatt Bentley said student recognition programs are well received.

“We try to find ways to recognize students from earning a 4.0 to giving service,” he said. “We have so many outstanding students to give recognition to, and it’s fun for them to be awarded and acknowledge their peers for their contributions.”