Whitman-Hanson Regional High School honored the good works of 170 students — and the significant fundraising efforts of another — during the school’s second Panther Pride awards ceremony of the school year on Thursday, April 16.
Students are nominated for Panther Pride honors by faculty and staff in five areas: academic attitude; attitude of mind (perseverance); grit (resilience); kindness and respectfulness.
Sophomore Mikalia Mason-Rollins of Whitman was also saluted for her selection as a state finalist in the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
“Each of the students here have really unique qualities,” Principal Jeffrey Szymaniak said. “That’s what makes a school great.”
Students who shovel the driveway for others, worked as tutors in the library, who walked to school when they didn’t have a ride, pick up trash in the halls and who sit with fellow students eating lunch alone were among those receiving awards.
“That’s what inspires us as educators,” he said. “Outside of graduation … these awards ceremonies, where we recognize the true meaning of culture, of goodness, of perseverance is what it’s all about here at Whitman-Hanson.”
Guidance Department members Amy Burns, Brianne Bianco and Courtney Selig presented the Panther Pride award certificates before students and their parents were invited to a Continental breakfast in the cafeteria.
“Everything around us that is good should be celebrated and recognized,” Burns said. “Your extraordinary acts of kindness were noticed. Your academic excellence was seen and your resilience, perseverance and respectfulness were heard.”
Bianco echoed that those traits matter and should be honored.
“It is truly amazing to see what these students do here on a daily basis,” Selig said.
Mason-Rollins received an engraved bronze medallion as a Prudential Spirit of Community Award finalist from Blackstone Valley Regional Schools Assistant Superintendent David Thompson, representing the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
“NASSP partners with Prudential Financial to sponsor a national awards program to honor young Americans who care about their world and find ways to make a difference,” Thompson said. “We do this because we believe if we’re going to meet the challenges we face today, we’re all going to have to be more involved in making our communities a better place to live.”
Thousands of students nationwide were considered for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award this year with a select few from each state and the District of Columbia selected for special recognition.
Mason-Rollins has raised $1,700 since 2012 to support Boston Childrens Hospital by creating and selling duct tape crafts through her project Duck and Donate.
“I’m proud of you, we as a school are proud of you and I encourage you to continue to make your mark — not only within the school, but in your community and, once you leave us, in your workforce and college career,” Szymaniak told the Panther Pride honorees.