The trophy cases glimmer in the hallways, brightly showcasing the athletic and academic accomplishments of Staples students. In every hallway of this school, there is a plaque or an award, honoring pupils for their exceptional achievements. Some of these awards are tucked away in the hallways, offices and lobbies of Staples
In the front of the school, however, there are pictures of students smiling who were recently awarded “Student of the Month”—an award given out to Staples students by the faculty once a month— not because of grades or involvement, but because of citizenship.
“I send a memo to all teachers at the end of September and again in February (second semester) asking them to submit one student name out of all the students they teach who simply makes them happy that they are teachers,” said Principal John Dodig.
The award includes everyone from freshman to seniors and, in the past, some students have won twice, even with a three-year gap between their nominations.
“I would always walk by the bulletin feeling jealous, wishing I could be on it too,” said Sofia Zenzola ’12, a recent winner. “It felt pretty cool that I could make someone smile and make school enjoyable just by being myself.”
Matt Silver ’12, a recent winner and Class of 2012’s Valedictorian, said that the best part of the award was the fact that the teachers choose the winners.
“Student of the Month is a great way for the teachers to show how much they appreciate and respect you in school,” Silver commented.
The teachers who nominate the students are always anonymous. It could mean that any teacher—or teachers—picked the winner.
“It was such a rewarding feeling,” added Rachel Samuels ’13, a current winner. “I really felt incredibly honored.”
Therein lies the beauty of this award: it doesn’t have anything to do with grades or accomplishments. It shows how important it is to “be yourself” and follow the golden rule, elementary principles that still hold true. Principal Dodig understands that—and that’s why he felt the need to bring this award to Staples.
“I have always believed that in all schools there are kids who have never been recognized publicly for anything,” said Dodig. “The kids who are the backbone of the school – who do the right thing every day, but never get their moment in the sun—they are the ones who deserve this award.”