It seems we consistently take time to recognize those students in our school who experience success both academically and athletically. When you look at an entire school population, these two groups tend to represent a small percentage of our entire student body.
In an attempt to recognize some of our ‘Invisible Students’ (and in some cases staff); Wainwright High School ran their inaugural “W.H.S. Commando Biffies” last June. Because our school mascot is named ‘Biff’ – we thought this to be an appropriate name for our annual awards.
We went to the student body who came up with the first list of categories and then took it to the staff for their input. The staff were given the ‘Power of Veto’ but did not exercise the same as they felt all categories were within our guidelines of respect.
Once the categories were finalized, publicity began through announcements, posters and most effectively word of mouth and invitation to participate as a nominee. The response was phenomenal — it turns out that our invisible kids truly want to be visible and simply needed an avenue to do so. Nominated students were approached individually and were given the opportunity to either accept or decline the nomination. Their acceptance of their nomination included their permission to take their picture which was to be included in the PowerPoint presentation.
We received many nominations in most categories. Once nominations were ceased, we took the top three of each category based on the total number of votes or in some cases hilarious comments written on the nomination ballot With the tallying complete, it was now time for the Premier Event. All students and staff were invited to the gymnasium for the last 40 minutes of the day for the presentation of the ‘Biffy’ awards in conjunction with our intramural celebration.
Mary Frank, one of our School Climate Advisors, put together a PowerPoint of all nominees and then the winners of each category. This presentation was the focal point of the assembly as we worked our way through the various categories, the nominees for the same and then the winner.
There was lots of good-natured laughing and cajoling going on as well as thunderous applause as each category winner was announced. Many of the student body vocally shared whom they thought would be the recipient of these ‘highly coveted awards’.
This single event has given us a real ‘in’ with a sector of the student population that previously appeared to be ‘unreachable’!
Categories for the W.H.S. Commando Biffies included:
Funkiest Gym Change
Person Most Likely to Talk Their Way Out of a Ticket
Student With the Dirtiest Locker
Person Most Likely to Borrow a Pen/Pencil
Teacher Easiest to Convince YOU are Right
Student Most Likely to be Found Doodling in
Teacher Easiest to Get Off Topic
Most Likely to Have Something Stuck in Their Front Teeth
Most Often Can Be Found Working Behind the Scenes
Most Likely to Have Their Homework Done
Most Likely to Overconsume ‘Energy Drinks’
This list of categories will change from year to year as we seek more student/staff input and attempt to expand our accessibility to those ‘Invisible Kids’.
Brent C. Allen