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The wide array

Oct 6, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Three decades of Student of the Week

Student of the Week is about to begin its fourth decade.

On page B-6 of today's edition, you'll find the second installment of our 30th annual Student of the Week program.

That seems a good occasion for making particular mention of the program, using this editorial space to discuss the wide array of students, their interests and ambitions, and their achievements and distinctions.

In about nine months, we'll join the participating Fremont County

public schools in recognizing each school's Student of the Year, and present a college scholarship to each at the conclusion of a springtime luncheon culminating the school year.

We also plan to produce a special edition with a "where are they now" theme in looking back over 30 years of the program. The first Students of the Year are now pushing 50.

That's all still months away, however. While the Student of the Year recognition is the gold at the end of the rainbow, we tend to like the weekly Student of the Week recognition even better.

For one thing, a student doesn't have to be the best at everything to be noted as Student of the Week. It's true that each school's eventual Student of the Year will come from the list of approximately 35 Students of the Week, the remaining students-- the ones who aren't the students of the year -- are the bread and butter of the program.

For them, the weekly recognition is, we hope, fun and rewarding. If things work well, it might even be inspiring.

We know that's the case for regular Student of the Week readers, who watch each Sunday for the small pictures and brief "blurbs" about the weekly honorees. For readers, it's a chance to see a young person they might remember as a small child, a neighbor, a former Little League or youth soccer player, a newspaper carrier, or that kid from Sunday school.

There's a my-how-she's-grown appeal to Student of the Week that links readers to students to schools to families. We like it when the newspaper helps that happen.

It's also good to see the schools get creative in their weekly choices. Not every selection is going to be the valedictorian, all-state musician, class president or starting quarterback. For some honorees, Student of the Week is simply an opportunity to be recognized for doing something well, something different, or something right.

That might mean a student who used to barely get passing grades now is getting a solid B average. It might mean a kid who used to skip school now has perfect attendance. It might mean a girl who helps out a younger student with math homework. Perhaps its the kid who didn't make the football team but still hustles the sidelines as the manager, or the adult college student who finds a way to make job, family and school coexist in her life.

Some students earn the honor by changing their habits -- cutting down tardiness, turning work in on time, or just adopting a better attitude in the classroom and the hallways.

These, in large part, are the Students of the Week, and their stories have begun again in the newspaper. We've found it to be among the most rewarding things we do.

Thanks in advance to the school coordinators who do their best to find good candidates for the honor and who strive to meet our deadlines and other requirements to keep the production process running smoothly.

There always will be plenty of recognition for the elite students with perfect grades, unique abilities and other outstanding achievements. But we're glad there's also a place -- both in the schools and in the newspaper -- for other deserving students to be celebrated for the things they do.

That place is Student of the Week. For the next nine months, please take time to notice.

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