The high school defines its core values as creating a positive culture of learning, leadership, behavior and work ethic. The students who earn the “Mountaineer” award do that job and do it well, Pratt said.
“I think they deserve a little recognition for that,” he said. “It’s more than just an academic award, it’s more than just an athletic award; it’s a character award, I think,” Pratt said.
November was the inaugural month for the award. Pratt sent out an email to more than 100 teachers and staff at the high school, requesting nominations and a brief explanation of why the student was nominated.
This first round netted 11 nominations. As the assistant principals read why each student was put forward for the award, they decided there was no reason to narrow the list to just one recipient.
“I didn’t want to set a number to it because I didn’t want to exclude anybody,” he said. “We want to see leaders in the classroom, kids getting out of their comfort zone, kids that are inclusive of other kids.”
Pratt explained the award to the students and read out what their teachers wrote about them in their nominations.
“They were surprised, but these are the humble kids. They were a little embarrassed, too, by what they were being recognized for,” he said. “I think for some of these kids, this is what they do everyday.”
In addition to the certificate, the students also received a coupon for a 25 percent discount at the school store. Pratt hopes to grow the program to be a little more formal, with the Mountaineers of the Month getting a little breakfast break and maybe some recognition like gift certificates from the community at large.
He also plans to send a letter home to parents so they know their student got nominated.
“So we’re starting out small and hoping to build on it,” he said.
Pratt is in his third year as assistant principal.