The Pep Fest at Greenbrier High School on Thursday morning had all the energy and excitement of any game-day pep rally.
Greenbrier High School student Matt Lowry tries to find a piece of gum in a whipped-cream pie Thursday during the schools Pep Fest honoring academic achievement.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
But the event wasn't to cheer any team on to victory. Its purpose was to cheer students on to academic success.
The Pep Fest was an activity of the school's Academic Booster Club's HOWL program - Honoring Outstanding Wolfpack Learners.
"Athletes are recognized all the time, and we still want that to happen. But we want good students to be recognized in front of the student body the way athletes are," said Peggy Stoming, a chemistry teacher, who with art teacher Dawn Graves serves as a faculty adviser for the HOWL student board.
At the start of the event, students were given candy wrapped in fabric book covers, "to get their excitement up," Stoming said. Between prize announcements, there was a presentation by the drama club, music and games where the contestants were picked from a list of students who had achieved A's and B's.
Two students of the month were recognized from each grade. Awards also recognized the most improved student, outstanding citizenship and the Wolf of the Month - "the one student who contributes the most to the school," Stoming said.
"I was surprised," said Wolf of the Month Shay Seymour, a senior. "I got a $20 gift certificate to Carrabba's (Italian Grill), so now I get to go out to eat this weekend. It's a good incentive for everybody to work hard and try to improve."
The student board selects seven teachers who decide the other student awards: most polite, most enthusiastic, biggest heart, hardest working, most likely to make your day and most creative.
"The whole purpose of the event is not just to encourage them to make good grades," Stoming said, "but to be good people - courtesy, kindness and dedication."
The board also randomly picks seven students from all of the A and B students who pick seven teachers to be awarded for: most polite, most enthusiastic, biggest heart, hardest working, most likely to brighten your day and most school spirit.
These award winners receive the coveted HOWL t-shirt.
"You can only get one if you are the pride of the pack," Stoming said. "These aren't just given away, you have to earn them."
Students who earned all A's last semester also received a HOWL card, which will get them into any Greenbrier High event free. Those who received A's and B's got a card that will get them into any event half-price. The 135 families who support the Academic Boosters Club also rounded up gift certificates from local restaurants and businesses to give as prizes. Another Pep Fest will be second semester, with monthly drawings for prizes. The 110 students who made all A's also will get to display a license plate with Summa Cum Laude ("highest honor" in Latin) and those 250 students on the A and B honor roll will get license plates that say Magna Cum Laude ("great honor").
Senior Shala Bussey said she was shocked when her name was called as student of the month.
"I'm glad people thought about me," she said. "This is the first time I've ever been chosen for anything like this. It really means a lot to me."
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