I thought a lot about this, and how it doesn't exactly coincide with my philosophy about ribbons and trophies. Competition can be healthy, and it's necessary in this arena... I mean, I'm the "coach" of a "team" after all ... but I feel like there's a lot of emphasis on WINNING, a lot of tears about LOSING, and a lot of ugly feelings around "participation ribbons"... (Secret? Everyone hates participation ribbons. Your students included.)
So here's what I plan to do, and the first draft of the speech I'll make when the time comes...
1) Thank-yous to parents
- acknowledge stand-out parents who did extra jobs
- All judges, coaches, volunteers
- Students: parents who drive you to meets, remember your props, print your scripts, keep in contact with your coach, and coach you and your friends deserve applause now.
2) "Top Students" (highest scoring)
-Top 2 from 8th grade
-Top 2 from 7th grade
-Top 2 from 6th grade
-New award this year: "Most improved" (biggest shift between lowest and highest score) This takes a ton of dedication to self-improvement
3) All students by category
a "certificate of completion" and a letter from your head coach
3) Surprise awards
The awards that were just given tell you about points, about hard work, about competition. These are all valid ways to measure a student's value to the team, their strength, their endurance and sportsmanship. But there's more to that story. If Forensics were only about the competition, we wouldn't have so many people in the room today. The points earned don't tell you about a student's personality, their charm, their humor, their friendship. Throughout the season, I got to spend some time with these students in rehearsal rooms, on busses, and lost in hallways, and I can tell you that each one of them is a shining example of not only a great forensics student, but a great person.
I'd like to take a few moments now to acknowledge a few of the many things I noticed. To match the off-beat awards, I found some off-beat trophies... well, to be honest I went to the dollar store and found some things...
My 3 team captains - folders with elastics so papers don't fall out
- organization/leadership- package of post-its
- authority - sheriff's badge
- best Honey-BooBoo impression - plastic tiara
Most enthusiastic team player - A yoyo
Fearlessness, and best nickname - a panda puppet
Funniest e-mails - a rubix cube
Grit (extra motivation) - glow butterflies, glow dinosaurs
Friendliness - deck of cards
Communication skills - silly putty
Zen master calmness - votive candle