Award recognizes good citizens
by Samantha White
Garrett Goss was one of the first six students who were selected for the Scotty Legends award. As part of the honor, students have the opportunity to paint their handprints on the wall near the entrance of the Hines Middle School gym. (Photo by SAMANTHA WHITE)
Hines Middle School (HMS), home of the Scotties, is on a mission to celebrate students who exemplify citizenship, honor, ethics, and morals with a new award called, “Scotty Legends.”
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines a “legend” as both “a notable person whose deeds or exploits are much talked about in his or her own time” and “a story handed down for generations among a people and popularly believed to have a historical basis…”
Both of these definitions seem to fit HMS Principal Jerry Mayes’ expectations for the lasting significance of the honor.
About the award
Mayes said students already earn awards for their achievements in athletics, academics and attendance, but HMS staff also wanted to recognize students for being “good all-around citizens.”
Mayes said the staff thought there should be an award for students who display honesty, honor, integrity, and “common manners” every day, “from the time they come in, to the time they leave,” not because it’s expected of them, but because “it’s part of their nature.” Mayes said these are the students who will grow up to be “the untold heroes who keep pretty much the rest of the populous in check” because they’re “natural leaders” who aren’t influenced by “the group mentality.”
During an assembly held Monday, Oct. 27, Garrett Goss, Lizet Camacho, Lily Taylor, Mick Winn, Jessy York and Madison Caldwell were introduced as the first group of Scotty Legends.
The selection process
Scotty Legends are selected and agreed upon by all HMS staff, including teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators.
“It has to be unanimously decided upon,” Mayes explained.
He said staff evaluate how students treat each other, act when they think no one is watching, and behave when “everyone else is griping.” Student behavior is not only observed during class, but also between classes, during lunch and recess, and before school starts in the morning.
Mayes said new nominations will be considered monthly, but staff will not be required to select a specific number of students.
“It depends on what we agree upon that month,” Mayes said, explaining that the award must be earned “across the board.”
Mayes said six Scotty Legends were selected this month, but next month there may be 10, or there may only be 1, or there may not be any. He said he doesn’t want staff members to feel like they have to fill a quota.
A lasting legacy
Scotty Legends are recognized during an assembly with a certificate and a wooden plaque, which is made by the HMS woodshop teacher. The Legends also get their picture taken, and the photos are displayed in the trophy case for the remainder of the month. However, the most enduring element of the award is the opportunity for students to add their handprints to the wall near the gym entrance.
“The plaques and certificates go home, the pictures come down, but the handprints stay,” Mayes said, adding that they’re painted in an area that’s visible to the public, and they’ll remain there for years to come.
Ann Choate, “the staff calligrapher,” will label the handprints with the corresponding students’ names.
Mayes, who joined the HMS staff at the start of the school year, said a similar program was implemented at the school where he worked before. At one point, Mayes’ previous school considered painting over the older prints to make room for new nominees, but the former students’ parents and grandparents prevented the painting because they wanted the younger siblings and cousins to be inspired by their older relatives’ accomplishments.
“We want students to look up at those handprints and for them to mean something,” Mayes said, explaining that he wants the Scotty Legends to be recognized as leaders and for the award to be something that students strive to attain.
An exceptional school
Mayes, who’s been in the education field for almost 35 years, said he’s very pleased with the students at HMS.
He said they have a very caring attitude, demonstrate positive relationships, and are polite to the teaching staff and each other.
“I haven’t seen nearly as much of that in other schools,” he said.