Good grades aren’t the only way to receive academic recognition.
Sometimes a certificate documenting achievement comes with something a bit more tasty: Pizza.
Just ask Mathias Brown.
“I’ve never had this many awards before,” he said as he held three certificates he received from the Chugiak-Eagle River Rotary club at the end of the first quarter in October as he enjoyed a pizza lunch courtesy of the Rotary and Eagle River’s Pizza Man restaurant.
Brown was nominated by three teachers for various attributes that aren’t driven by test scores and daily grades but are derived from personal choices.
Nicole Smith nominated Brown for his integrity. David Make, a math teacher, nominated Brown for being prepared for class and Karin Dahl, a language arts instructor, put Brown in for an award for his enthusiasm, school pride, and leadership.
Brown’s nomination and subsequent consumption of hot and cheesy pizza are part of a 15-year partnership between the Rotary and the popular pizza place. It is aimed at recognizing high school and middle school students for attributes that support success in and out of the classroom. Teachers nominate students who receive a certificate for their attribute and a pizza and fruit lunch with their peers.
“There are a lot of factors that contribute to a young person’s success. Academic achievement is just one part of that,” Rep. Dan Saddler, R- District 13, said. Saddler is a long-time Rotarian and he makes attending the “pizza parties” a priority when the Legislature is not in session. “Learning how to master these positive attributes also plays an important role in their future success no matter what their endeavors are.”
Yolanda Tankersley couldn’t agree more.
Her daughter, Kylie, a sophomore, received an award from her history teacher for a rather unique quality that Kylie herself didn’t initially recognize.
Kylie was nominated for her interpretation of history through artwork.
“Kylie is an amazing artist and her ability to take art and apply it to history is very innovative and creative,” wrote Michael Gullett, Kylie’s teacher.
Those words meant as much to Yolanda as the excellent report cards Kylie brings home each quarter. As Kylie’s mother, Yolanda felt as if Mr. Gullett validated another outlet for Kylie by honoring the artwork she does in his class. MaryAnn Paul is a local Rotarian who regularly attends the “pizza parties” to give out certificates. She enjoys calling each student’s name and reciting the reason they are being recognized.
“You should all pat yourselves on the back,” she told the students gathered at CHS. “Because you deserve it. You worked hard for this. But don’t forget to thank your teachers for your nomination and keep making good choices.”