On Wednesday, Valparaiso Community Schools, Valparaiso High School, and the Valpo Schools Foundation held their first annual Varsity Academic Award ceremony at the Valparaiso High School Gymnasium.
The ceremony was attended by around 500 students from grades 10 through 12, along with their cheering families as they received their academic jacket letters, certificates, and a “lamp of knowledge” patch for their chevrons.
Mark Hoffman, Development Director at the Valparaiso Schools Foundation, saw this as a much needed opportunity to give Valparaiso Community school’s high academic achieving students the recognition they deserved.
“The Valparaiso Schools Foundation thought this would be a great way to honor our students for their hard work besides just at graduation. This award is for everyone, our athletes, musicians and all the other students that put Valparaiso High School is the academic spotlight,” he said.
“We gave our students a survey to see if this event was something the kids would want to have go on, and we were astounded by the number that said yes, that they want to make academics something to be worn in honor here at Valparaiso High School”.
“Since this event was such a success, we’re planning on having a much bigger affair for the students during the school day next time as the academic awards are handed out in the spring as well. There will be a breakfast for the students along with more speakers to congratulate and motivate them further,” he continued.
The criteria for the award requires students to maintain a 3.5 grade point average for two consecutive semesters. The students will have the opportunity to earn one academic letter, six chevrons and six certificates during their time at Valparaiso High School.
Amy Lavalley and her husband Andy were among the proud parents watching her son Joseph receive his award.
“I thought the event was really nice to attend, the speakers seemed like they really cared about the students. I’m glad they’re recognizing academics in the same way the other extracurricular activities do by getting jacket letters and such,” she said. “All these kids have done great work and shown real dedication to earning these awards. They should be proud of what they’ve seen through, and can show us parents they are determined to succeed in school.”