Ceremony held to award academic letter winners

The academic letter ceremony for 2014-15 school year winners took place Tuesday, Sept. 29, in the main gymnasium

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By Michaela Jackson

At the ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 29, third-year academic award winners wait to receive their letters.

Lindsay VanLerberg, JAG photographer

Students, along with their families, gathered to recognize academic letter winners at a ceremony held Tuesday, Sept. 29 in the gym.

To receive a letter, a student must maintain at least a 3.7 unweighted GPA for two consecutive semesters.

This year’s ceremony differed from previous. Unlike past years, the jazz band played upon entry and a guest was added to give a speech about the importance of academics. In addition, the actual ceremony itself was presented differently, putting students in order by the number of years they have received an academic letter.

The ceremony began with a speech from social studies teacher Jeff Wieland. In his speech, Wieland explained the purpose of the ceremony to the audience.

“Tonight’s the night we marvel in how well you balance eight classes in a semester,” Wieland said in the speech. “We are first and foremost an academic institution, and you are our finest students.”

The counseling department, who put on the ceremony, started with recognizing third-year letter winners and continued to second-year and first-year winners.

The ceremony acknowledged nearly 300 students as they walked across the gym to shake hands with band teacher Deb Steiner, science teacher Betsy Meeks, communication arts teacher Sara Sedgwick and Wieland before receiving their letters from the counselors.

Such a high unweighted GPA is considered a very large accomplishment, but usually goes unnoticed, the purpose of this ceremony is to recognize those outstanding accomplishments, as Wieland said, “a 3.7 GPA leaves little room for error.”

Sophomore Cody Robertson, a first-year letter winner, said he appreciates the ceremony.

“It is a good thing because it recognizes student intellect that isn’t generally appreciated in everyday life,” Robertson said.

Senior Sydney Hanson, a third-year winner, agrees with Robertson.

“I think the academic letter ceremonies are a good thing because it gives the students who aren’t in sports equal recognition of their achievements,” Hanson said.

The ceremony concluded with a brief speech from assistant principal Jerald VanRheen, congratulating the students on their achievements.

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