Program recognizes student talents not shown on report card

Work ethic, attitude, altruism: All helpful traits to have in a growing student, but not always able to be captured on a report card. A relatively new program at Homer High School seeks to recognize these and other student accomplishments.

Mariners on the Move was created through a team effort eight years ago, said Homer High School counselor Paul Story.

“(It’s) just to celebrate things that were getting done,” he said. “Sometimes fabulous things, sometimes things that are kind of more under the radar but still deserve kudos.”

The program was a bit of a hit when it first started, Story said, because people were still figuring out exactly what it was and were excited about a new event. Not a school wide program, the awards ceremonies for students and parents are a more intimate affair, he said.

Each teacher at the school nominates one student for the Mariners on the Move award each year for a variety of reasons, and then get to explain their choice during a reception with the students and parents. The eight students honored with the award this quarter are Jeremiah Bartel, Wynand Strydom, Isaac Jump, Asa Panarelli, Raisa Basargin, Kendra Raymond, Brendon Fenex and Elijah Gunderson.

Gordon Pitzman, a Spanish teacher at Homer High, has been participating in the nominations since the program began. He said a highlight for him is getting to hear the other teachers at the ceremony talk about the attributes they appreciate in their own students. Another is to see the pride parents have in their kids. Often, he said, the parents are already aware of the talents their child is being honored for.

“When I look at my class rosters to pick a student for the award, I look for characteristics and certain qualities that might not show up on a … traditional report card,” he said.

Pitzman said he chooses students to nominate by looking for things like resilience, a major grade improvement, hard work, kindness, a positive attitude and a willingness to help others.

“We appreciate a lot of things in people, not strictly their ability to get a good grade, you know?” Pitzman said of the importance of the program.

Sometimes the choice is obvious with a standout student, Pitzman said, while other times it can come down to a tough choice between two deserving individuals.

Another positive aspect of the program is that it provides an in for parents where the school is concerned, he said, bringing the families of the winning students into the school and giving them a chance to interact with the teachers.

“It’s really nice just to talk with parents,” Pitzman said.

First quarter Mariner on the Move winners:

· Jeremiah Bartel nominated by Mr. Pitzman

· Wynand Strydom nominated by Mr. Akers

· Isaac Jump nominated by Mr. Stineff

· Asa Panarelli nominated by Ms. Mall

· Raisa Basargin nominated by Ms. Bishop

· Kendra Raymond nominated by Ms. Tetor

· Brendon Fenex nominated by Ms. Tetor

· Elijah Gunderson nominated by Mrs. Reiske

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