The Golden Horseshoe Award Each month, the National Honor Society members at McNeil HS in Austin, TX, vote to recognize a staff member with the Golden Horseshoe Award.
The Golden Horseshoe Committee members, led by the NHS co-historians, decorate the winner's classroom or office after school. (It is a good idea to alert the custodians after decorating. Once or twice, they have been too efficient and have cleaned the room of all the decorations that night!)
The decorations range from banners and balloons to baked goods and candy hidden in the desk or podium. If black board space is available, it is quickly filled with congratulatory messages. Signs are hung throughout the room, with one pointing out the prize: the Golden Horseshoe, a real horseshoe that has been spray painted gold. Since the school's mascot is a maverick, the horseshoe seems to be the appropriate symbol.
The award is not merely a "Teacher of the Month" designation. Several times the students have voted for an administrator, a counselor, and even a cafeteria staff member! Every recipient has been thrilled with the honor. Their reactions have ranged from being speechless to wiping away a few tears.
As the school year winds down, NHS members at W. F. Kaynor HS in Waterbury, CT, make a point of making sure each staff member knows how much he or she is appreciated. The design and print certificates for each staff member, then write on each certificate something that makes that staff member special. The NHS members then host an after-school ice cream party for the staff, complete with music and dancing.
The school board in Farmington, MO, hosts a steak dinner for all students who make the honor roll at Farmington Senior HS. The dinner is for the students and their parents, who are treated to a guest speaker. Past speakers have included an astronaut, the governor, and other dignitaries.
As a gesture of appreciation, student council members at East Rowan (NC) HS create snowmen magnets to present to faculty members. They paint Popsicle sticks white, glue hats on them, draw faces, and affix a magnet to the back. The magnets are delivered to teachers during their planning period.
Teacher Talent Show
The student council at Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt, MD, organizes a teacher talent show to showcase the talents students might not otherwise have an opportunity to appreciate. "It gives teachers a chance to show another side to their personality that doesn't get shown normally in the classroom," says senior Emerson Davis.
As a gesture of appreciation, student council members at Forsyth Central HS in Cumming, GA, go around to all classrooms to deliver a room service breakfast of coffee, juice, donuts, and other breakfast foods to all teachers on a designated day.
To thank the custodians for all their hard work, the student council at Cimarron-Memorial HS in Las Vegas, NV, sponsors custodian appreciation day. While the custodians eat a complimentary lunch, students clean the cafeteria and lunch area. In addition to thanking the custodians, the clean-up work gives students a greater appreciation for the hard work they do.
For its 25th anniversary celebration--which included a rededication ceremony, speeches from notable alumni, and a timeline of photographs-Bonanza HS in Las Vegas, NV, created a special anniversary pin that was given to all guests at the event. The evening concluded with refreshments and a social hour.
NHS members at Ursuline Academy in Springfield, Ill., show their support for peers involved in drama productions and raise money at the same time with flower sales before each school play. Carnations obtained at cost from a generous local florist are sold to students for one dollar each. Audience members then present the flowers to cast and crew members and production staffers at the school play.
Sometimes teachers need a real special day to make them feel appreciated. At Washington (Mo.) HS, student council had done most of the normal "appreciation" things and was looking for something a little special to do for the faculty. They decided that the entire faculty needed a trip-a trip to Hawaii. Not having the money to really send them there, they had to come up with the next best thing. They decided to create a little bit of Hawaii right at school.
"We got airplane ticket folders from a local travel agency and produced something that really looked like an airline ticket. We put these very realistic "tickets" in the teacher's mailboxes with a departure time printed on them for the next morning at 7:30 a.m.," said Karen Dawson, student council adviser. "A few of the teachers were almost convinced that they had a real ticket in their hands and were wondering where we were going to get all the subs for the next day!"
On the afternoon before the ticket's departure time, council members decorated the teacher's lounge with netting, real pineapples, flowers, and fresh fruit and placed leis in each teacher's mailbox. "With Hawaiian music playing the next morning, the teachers walked into a place that no longer looked like the dreary teacher's lounge but more like a tropical luau," said Dawson. "The scents were of fresh flowers, the sights were lovely fruits, breads, and pastries, and the music added to the feel of really being somewhere very special. Of course everyone was still right there in the old lounge, but for just a little while they were transported to a very different, exotic spot," she said.
With very little cost, council members created a very special day for the faculty. "For the rest of the day you would see smiles on everyone's face and a lei around their neck. The brief trip to the tropical paradise had surely done its magic," said Dawson. Next time-destination Australia!
Starring Role Project
The student council at Bastrop (Tex.) HS invites its members, the officers of all organizations (including team captains), and one senior from each organization who has been named by the adviser as playing a major leadership role in the organization to an ice cream, Coke float, and cookies party. They thank them for their positive efforts in making Bastrop HS successful and present each one of them with a business card that reads "Thanks for playing a starring role in my life." Each card also has a pin attached that student council members make with either glow-in-the-dark stars or small foil stars to which they have attached pin backs. They also give each attendee three additional cards with star pins and ask them to sign the cards and give them to three adults at the school.
"The first year we did this, we held our party two weeks prior to the end of school. Our principal's secretary and our attendance clerk each got three or four pins, and they each wore them every day until the end of the year. The secretary said it was the best thing that had happened to her all year," said Terry Hamm, student council adviser.
Value Our Veterans
With the purpose of honoring local veterans, the Olton (TX) HS student council organized a project that pulled together students from the entire campus. Initially, student council worked with FFA to develop an idea for a veterans' memorial. To raise funds, they applied for and received a $2,000 Learn and Serve grant and raised $700 by enlisting the help of the theater department to write and perform a USO show on Pearl Harbor Day. To develop the area for the memorial, FFA and FCA leveled soil, installed sprinklers, and planted trees. The Lions Club helped by selling brick pavers inscribed with veterans' names. Students from an art class designed a brass sculpture to be set in the memorial along with a flagpole. The idea to honor veterans turned into a project in which students and community members came together to accomplish a worthwhile goal. The dedication occurred on Memorial Day. (Reprinted from the August 2001 TASC newsletter.)