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Four hours ago, Board members, Tracie, Madonna and I, had the privilege of presenting awards to a few hundred students at our school’s first annual Scholastic Awards Ceremony. The auditorium was filled to capacity for this special event. One of the teachers did an outstanding job of decorating the room for the end of year assemblies. Giant sized students in graduation caps and gowns, spring flowers, and other figures adorned the walls.

In anticipation of the overflowing crowd of proud parents, the scholars were not seated in the auditorium; there would not have been enough room. Instead, we started the program with the “March of the Scholars.” Students marched into the room to the musical strains of Pomp and Circumstance as we applauded their entrance. There were enough students to span three sides of the auditorium.

The awards were distributed quickly and the children didn’t seem to mind standing up instead of sitting down. Awards were presented for twelve categories: Perfect Attendance and Meritorious Attendance, Excellent Conduct, Citizenship, Effort, Gold and Silver Honor Roll, top scholarship in Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies and the Outstanding Student. As their names were called, students received their awards from one of the Board members and took a place on the stage to be photographed. After the presentations, the scholars repeated their march, this time holding their trophies, medallions, pins, ribbons, and certificates aloft for all to see. It was a wonderful experience.

We learned a few lessons after doing this for the first time. I was especially proud of the way the teachers worked together for a smooth distribution of more than 400 awards. I am truly grateful for their extra effort to make this a unique occasion for our best students. It will be bigger and better next year. Congratulations, Scholars of McDonogh 42 Elementary Charter School.

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