Declining attendance at Academic Awards Breakfast prompts change in tradition

Hailey McEntee, Co-Editor

Due to low upperclassmen attendance for last year’s Spring Academic Awards Breakfast, administrators, Site-Based Leadership council (SBL) and Student Council created a new plan for the juniors and seniors academic recognition. On Thursday, April 26, juniors and seniors were recognized in a different way — at a class lunch.
“This all came up because last spring, and the spring two years ago, attendance by upperclassman at our Spring Academic Awards Breakfast was pretty shallow,” Principal Scott Bacon said. “If we had 50 percent of our upperclassmen attend, we were lucky.”
To solve the problem of low attendance, Bacon sought help from students to get to the root of the problem. He found out students didn’t want to go because they’d rather sleep in on late start.
Bacon said SBL students indicated they prefer lunch recognition.
“This idea was one that came up and was really unique, and some of our students proposed it,” he said. “So I thought, ‘Well, let’s see if we can pull this off and see how it goes.’”
Although the Spring Academic Awards Breakfast was changed for this year, the fall ceremony will remain as a breakfast for all classes.
“We are going to continue doing our fall one the same as we always have because that’s the first time we get to recognize our National Merit scholars and our AP scholars, and we feel like that’s pretty important,” he said.
Junior Katie Davies said there were positive and negative aspects of the lunch recognition.
“People were actually awarded more because when we had the breakfast no one really knew about it,” Davies said. “Also, it was good eating lunch with your entire class with all your friends. The cons were that no one was really paying attention and that people felt awkward.”
Davies said she did not like the lunch recognition as much as the breakfasts.
“I think [administration] should switch it back,” she said. “It’s just kind of a tradition, and I don’t think the lunch worked as well as the breakfast.”
Bacon said even though there was no parent attendance, students received recognition in front of their peers.
“We want to make it a big deal if you get an academic award that’s a 3.7 [GPA] in the last two consecutive semesters, or a 4.0,” he said. “My hope would be that if somebody isn’t recognized, they would be encouraged and motivated to work to that level.”
Despite the tradition of the Awards Breakfast, Bacon said it was time for a change.
“I think everybody in our school community feels it is important for us to recognize our students for academic accomplishments,” he said. “We’ve done it one way forever, and it was time to look at doing it a little bit differently.”