Academics awards celebrate student accomplishments

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Throughout the spring, seniors prepare for their departure from high school. So far this year, they have participated in their last pep rally, finished their AP tests and gone to prom. The last big event before graduation occurred on May 16, the academic awards  night.

On this evening, the teachers, administrators, parents and fellow students celebrate the academic achievements of the exceptional students at WJ. At the awards ceremony, teachers and administrators present various awards to the recipients.

Principal Jennifer Baker plays a key role in the event. She presents the majority of the awards and makes sure that the whole ceremony runs smoothly.

“I am sort of the master of ceremonies, so I help keep it flowing and get the next people coming up. Some of the awards I present, some of the awards have other people that come up and present them,” Baker said.

The event is held in the auditorium, and is about a two-hour program. 

“No one except the teachers and administrators know who [the recipients] are. Students know that they are receiving an award, but they don’t know what award,” Baker said.

Anahita Shiva was the recipient of the Charles H. Rideout award. She earned this award by having the highest cumulative GPA in the senior class. She is speaking at graduation.

“[I earned this award through] lots of studying and not much sleep. I really couldn’t have done it without the help of all my teachers and support from my friends and family,” Shiva said.

Many of the students at WJ are worthy of receiving some of these awards. The staff tries to make sure that no one student gets most of the awards.

“We try to disperse it out because we don’t want one person winning lots and lots of awards. So what we do is we try to look at who has been recommended for what award to get some balance,” Baker said.

The staff usually has a lot of trouble trying to decide who should win an award. Baker usually consults with other teachers for their recommendations.

“Usually it is really hard to decide because you are deciding between a few fabulous students who have done such great things,” Baker said.

Erin O’Connell, the head of the math department, consults with the other math teachers to decide who should win the math-related awards.

“I work with my department to select the recipients of any math awards and at the actual awards ceremony, I present those awards to the winners,” O’Connell said.

Many people believe that having an academics awards show at WJ is very important in order to celebrate the amazing achievements of the WJ students.

“I think it’s nice that [the awards show] is a time for sort of everyone to be recognized for their own strengths,” O’Connell said.

Baker always thoroughly enjoys the academic awards ceremony and admiring the achievements of the creditable students.

“I think it’s nice to celebrate our students and I enjoy seeing what they have done at our school,” Baker said.

Shiva was excited to attend her first awards ceremony and honor the accomplishments of her fellow students.

“Everyone involved has worked so hard to get to where they are and this ceremony recognizes all the effort they have put in,” Shiva said.

Shiva serves as an inspiration for incoming students that strive to be like her. She gives her advice on achieving their preferred high school grades, while maintaining a social life.

“I would recommend to push yourself as much as possible. Also, it’s important to keep a balance, so don’t skip those concerts, dances or Friday night games-it’s always nice to have a break so you don’t burn out,” Shiva said.

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