By Ruby Deeming, Liaison Editor and Shadow Business Manager
// Every year, Acalanes awards students for excelling in their various classes, academically and otherwise. This year, the Acalanes Administration wanted to award a wider array of students outside of the traditional academic awards.
The administrative staff created the Acalanes Community Always (ACA) Blue Heart Award and Silver A Award to recognize students that display positive, genuine qualities in and outside of the classroom. Principal Eric Shawn sent an email on May 4 announcing the winners for each award.
The ACA Blue Heart Award is an award that recognizes students for exhibiting engagement, spirit, inclusion, and care within the Acalanes community.
“We’re trying to have students and teachers or anyone who wants to recommend other fellow peers for being really school involved. And that doesn’t mean intellectually because a lot of our rewards kind of highlight students that do well intellectually, this is more about having fun, showing school culture, being kind to others, so what we would consider to be really genuine qualities, outside of the intellectual sphere,” science teacher Tom McNamara said.
Students filled out a Google Form and anonymously nominated any student on campus that they felt deserved the award.
“I will just say it was really heartwarming to see students talk so kindly of the peers that matter to them on this campus. It was also really fantastic as I sent the notification to students and their parents to see parents responding to their kids with so much joy and love for their kids doing amazing things at our school,” Shawn said.
The committee for the ACA Blue Heart Award is composed of seven teachers and staff, along with two Acalanes students. The Blue Heart Award received 125 nominations, and out of those nominations, the committee selected 38 winners.
“[The award is] not necessarily something that I worked towards, [but] it was a nice surprise to win [the awards]. It feels good to be recognized,” Silver A Award winner, Blue Heart Award Winner, and senior Owen Thomas said.
Similar to the ACA Blue Heart Award, the Silver A Award acknowledges students that actively engage with their classmates and teachers while showing genuine interest in the curriculum. Unlike the Blue Heart Award, only teachers could nominate students for the Silver A Award.
“The Silver A Award [has] teachers really thinking about those students in their classrooms that light up the classroom, that makes what it means to be a teacher powerful and rewarding,” Shawn said.
Every teacher on campus could submit the names of up to two students that they believed should have received the Silver A Award.
“[Receiving the award] makes me realize that people are actually watching me and my actions and what I do, which I didn’t really take into consideration…I didn’t realize the [impact] I have on people,” Silver A Award winner, Blue Heart Award winner, and junior Amani Williams said.
To celebrate both the Silver A Award winners and Blue Heart Award winners, Shawn will host an honorary breakfast and luncheon where students will receive their official awards. Teachers and staff hope that, by continuing to acknowledge students with awards like these, students will feel recognized and appreciated.
“I think that giving awards to our students for the things they do to make this place what it is, reinforces those behaviors and qualities that matter to us. When we say things like ‘Acalanes Community Always’, [that] defines what we are in a way that is very clear and attainable by the students that go to school here and we need to celebrate that as much as we can,” Shawn said.