Outstanding Students Honored

Outstanding Students Honored

Last week 17 students were honored for possessing something that most people cannot define, but that everyone knows when they see it: citizenship.\par

Nine elementary students, four middle-school students and two high-school students from the Ashburn area were honored Tuesday, May 16, at the Ashburn Ruritan's Club 11th annual Outstanding Student Citizen Awards.\par

"This award is all about students who are good citizens," Barry Dwyer, president of the Ashburn Ruritan Club, said. "These are kids that are nice, respectful of their elders and who go out of their way to help others."\par

There are no true requirements for the award, Dwyer said. It is up to teachers and principals to decide which student they believe are the perfect models for citizenship.\par

"This award is totally subjective," Dwyer said, "but that's one of the best things about it. You get all types of kids."\par

"Out of the outstanding student citizens, some were straight-A students and some didn't fit that mol

d," Ned Waterhouse, deputy superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools, said. "That is really unique and one of the things that makes the award so special."\par

The awards ceremony was held at Eagle Ridge Middle School, where Principal Janice Koslowski hosted the ceremony.\par

"This awards ceremony has been a long-standing tradition for our school since we opened," she said. "This was a great opportunity to show a community connection and the Ruritan Club is a great supporter of schools."\par

Each year the Ashburn

Ruritan Club gives money and aid to people in the community that need assistance. This year, the club's mission is to help the children of Ashburn schools directly. Besides providing merit-based scholarships and support for underfunded programs, the club i

s committed to providing additional money for the needs of students.\par

"Schools will call us and tell us about the specific needs of a student," Dwyer said. "And we will give money to pay for summer school or medical needs. Normally if a child can't afford s

omething that money comes directly from the teacher's pocket. This way it doesn't have to."\par


}{\b\fs28 WHEN IT CAME}{\fs28 to selecting a student for the citizenship award, many schools turned to a committee of faculty members to make the decision.\par

Eagle Ridge Middle School eighth-grade dean, James Watson, knew he was looking for someone who stood out from the crowd.\par

"We were looking for an outstanding eighth-grader all-around," he said. "We knew that character really counted."\par

All of Watson's eighth-grade teachers nominated students from the 215 eighth-graders at Eagle Ridge and then voted on who they believed most encapsulated the values of citizenship. They decided to honor student Morgan McGovern.\par

"Not only was academics taken into account, but how the student contributed to the school," Watson said. "Teachers really stressed her maturity and caring for others, her leadership abilities and her outstanding work ethic."\par

Outside of everything she had achieved in school, with her classmates and her teachers, Watson said, one of the most important things about Morgan is the influence she could have.\par

"I see her as a positive role model for all students," Watson said. "Both students and teachers think really highly of her."\par

Legacy Elementary also turned to its teachers to select its student, Sarah Kwitnieski.\par

"It was a collective decision made amongst all the teachers, including not only classroom teachers, but specialty teachers as well," Principal Rob Duckworth said. "Sometimes kids are great in the classroom and then they get t

o the library and it's something different."\par

Sarah was chosen, Duckworth said, because she was just "great across the board."\par



}{\b\fs28 THE CITIZEN AWARDS}{\fs28 are the biggest event of the Ruritan Club's year and the chance to honor students in something besides academics or athletics.\par

}{\fs36 "This is an award}{\fs28 about qualities that go beyond academics and sports," Waterhouse said. "This is about the relationships between people, setting a high level of service."}{\fs36 \par

}{\fs28 "What I truly appreciate and what I think is so neat is that [the award] is truly just about being a good citizen and kids who are really well-rounded," Duckworth said. \par

Dwyer said one of the best things about the awards ceremony is watching the relationship the students have with their teachers.\par

"This year we had a teacher who said their student had given him much more than he had given her," Dwyer said. "It is typically odd to see an adult in a leadership role looking at a student and saying something like that, but that's what a lot of these kid

s do."\par

Since the term citizenship is so difficult to define, one of the first things people mention when asked to describe it is impact.\par

"These are kids that have had an impact on other students," Waterhouse said. "That's a pretty positive thing to honor."\par

The nature of the award leads to strong emo