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Some kids run fast and punt well. Some kids join every club and ace every test. Some kids simply do the right thing, and those are the kids that the community celebrated in April.
The Elizabeth Education Foundation applauds those quiet, well-deserving, students annually at their S.T.A.R.S. (Students Taking Accounting and Responsibility Seriously) awards banquet. This year, 52 local kids received medals for their subtle forms of heroism at the April 14 ceremony held in the Elizabeth High School cafetorium.
The foundation transformed the cafetorium with decorations, linen napkins and tablecloths, and table settings fit for a wedding. Students who earned the award last year acted as ushers and servers, and one even played in the string ensemble throughout dinner. Cafeteria staff cooked chicken and mashed potatoes, and Nothing Bundt Cakes was enlisted for dessert — hundreds of miniature chocolate cakes.
“For the school district, it was a very posh event,” said Mary Smith, president of the Elizabeth Education Foundation.
The ceremony began after the 240 guests, which included the nominees, family members and nominators, finished dinner. Students felt the excitement of being praised, and the anxiety of the total mystery surrounding their award; they did not know who nominated them nor for what reason. So as they stood on stage next to the master of ceremonies, they found out for the first time what the act was that landed them the community’s approval.
“Brooke is one of those people who just gets things done and yet sometimes her valuable contributions are overlooked by others,” emcee and foundation supporter Jace Glick read from a mystery nominator. “And, most importantly, she is a humble, kind and generous person that her peers and her teachers respect.”
Glick went on to say how Brooke Woods keeps her grades up, is a member of the Peer Support Group, volunteers at two health-care facilities, and was part of a team that competed nationally at the Future Business Leaders Business Presentation.
“Annalie (Peterson) is an intelligent, kind, insightful, and giving student who is a positive role model for her peers,” Glick said. “From her schoolwork to her volunteer and extracurricular activities, Annalie works hard at everything she sets her mind to and is a true STAR in the Elizabeth community.”
Annalie also does swimming and gymnastics, and supports her church and the Dumb Friends League through volunteer efforts, Glick added before moving on to the next nominee.
“For two years, Ian has been one of my most hard-working and dedicated students,” Glick read aloud. “He is a positive presence in the classroom and will often ask me how my day is going. Ian is truly a wonderful part of EHS and our community.”
Glick continued on, saying that Ian Armstrong tries his best in the class, the marching field, and on stage.
And that’s how the night continued until all 52 students were honored for how they conduct themselves on a regular basis.
Though the ceremony will be held again next year, this was Smith’s last event after being secretary for four years and president for seven years — a role she felt compelled to extend so that the foundation could continue until a new president stepped in. The foundation’s founders created this honor of achievement 20 years ago.
“I view the award as a kind of citizenship award. These are responsible, cool kids,” Smith said. “We have some of the best kids out here.”
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