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Dec 5, 2011

What kind of characteristics or behavior can get you the title of Student of the Month? What would you imagine them to be? Intelligent? Avid* reader? High scorer? Or, are there other qualities that can get you noticed by teachers and rewarded. It looks as if there are many traits* and behaviors that can get a student both noticed and appreciated. Recently, in my childrens' middle school, there was an awards ceremony for a group of students who had 'stood out'* as community builders. By community, I mean the student body*, and the overall atmosphere that it carries. When I received the letter from the school, that my son Cass, had been nominated by his teachers for a community award, I was intrigued. I assumed that he had done something for the community of Wenatchee, perhaps for a charity. When I asked him what it meant, he told me that he didn't really know. Knowing that the principal would give some kind of speech about the award, I decided to wait and see what he had to say. The ceremony took place at ten in the morning, during school. The students who were nominated were excused from their various classes, and joined the parents in the assembly hall. The principal introduced himself, and then started to talk about what 'community' actually means within the school, and why it is so important. He talked about students having a positive and caring attitude, and being the 'glue' that holds the student community together, and helps to create a generally positive environment. As I listened to what he was saying, I realised that, yes, community is essential in school. If the student environment is safe and friendly, the young people can learn so much more, and feel free to be themselves, and perhaps even enjoy their school days. The last thing that students need is stress, so if the school system rewards community, I suppose it elevates the comfort level of all members. I took lots of photos of Cass and the other students, who had all been nominated by various teachers. They stood on stage in a group, holding their certificates proudly. After the ceremony, there was time for refreshments#, and mingling# with the other families. I read Cass' award which said, "His maturity, friendliness, and willingness to accept all kids makes him a wonderful member of any group." I felt very proud. I have his award on my desk now, and plan to frame it and put it in a place where everyone can see it.

Related vocabulary:avid, traits, to stand out, student body (refreshments, mingling - found on Facebook, at Anna Fromacupofenglish).

1. He is an avid bird watcher; it is his main passion.

2. Characteristics and traits really mean the same thing, though traits can automatically mean physical features.

3. He stood out in the crowd; he was much taller than most people, and was wearing unusually colorful clothes.

4. The student body is putting on a play next week. Every student has his or her own part.

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