A different kind of honor

From Staff Reports

Typically, when schools are encouraged to nominate students for awards, the first stop in doing so is the grade book.
But for a new award given for the first time to a group of Helena students last week, the award was much more in-depth than that. While grades played a factor for a few of the students who received the first Character in Action awards last Thursday, they were primarily honored based on their character traits.
“Sometimes, the same few kids are nominated for everything. We wanted to open it up and focus on more than just good grades,” Family Connection Director of Program Development Susan Johnston said after four Helena students received the awards during a Sept. 18 county Drug Free Coalition meeting at her facility in Alabaster.
Each month, the award will focus on a different school zone. This month’s focus was on Helena schools.
During the meeting, Helena Middle School student Alex Tilton, Helena High School student Erin Atkinson, Helena Elementary School student Thomas Washer and Helena Intermediate School student Libbey Dudley received the newly created awards.
Over the past several weeks, the four students were nominated by teachers, administrators and counselors at their schools based on several criteria: Respect, self-discipline, responsibility, citizenship, friendship, fairness, perseverance and courage.
From what we heard during the award ceremony, the four Helena students perfectly exemplified the spirit of the award.
School leaders praised Tilton for always being quick to lend a helping hand to those in need, and for being kind to everyone at the school.
Dudley drew praise for always treating others the way she would want to be treated, and Atkinson was praised for spending time every day helping a special-needs student excel in photography class.
Washer spent several weeks boldly championing his school’s canned food drive to benefit Oak Mountain Missions, and was praised for helping the school’s leadership team collect more than 1,500 canned food goods for that cause.
Good grades are certainly important, but they only represent a portion of the foundation for future success. We praise the students selected for this award, and the local school systems that have partnered to highlight achievements beyond the GPA mark.