St. Clair High students, teachers, faculty and parents gathered for the 22nd annual Very Important People Awards Thursday afternoon in the high school auditorium.
A total of 42 students received a VIP award in the first quarter. Teachers can nominate students for a variety of reasons including having good grades, being helpful in class, being kind, being on time and more.
Students can be recognized once a year and if they receive an award all four years of high school they are recognized at graduation, according to math teacher and Renaissance sponsor Melissa Krimmel.
“Usually, by the time graduation rolls around, maybe five or six kids get recognized because it is quite an accomplishment to get VIP all four years of high school,” Krimmel said.
Superintendent Kyle Kruse told the stories of three VIPs who all have common traits. The first person he mentioned, Kruse referred to him as Harry.
Harry was a typical kid who liked model trains, but was bullied in school, he said.
“He loved words; he loved telling stories. He tried to get a job in an industry and was turned down,” Kruse said.
He added that Harry was turned down for a lot jobs and he eventually became flat broke. Harry was later hired as a construction worker although he had no experience.
“(He) worked really hard and paid attention,” Kruse said.
“According to legend, (he) would be working on a house with the carpentry textbook opened there next to him so he’d make sure he did it right,” Kruse said.
Harry became good at carpentry and one day installed cabinets for a man named George, Kruse said. As he was installing George’s cabinets, he was discussing what he had always wanted to do, which was tell stories.
George gave Harry a chance in that line of work and “the rest is history,” Kruse said. Harry, or better known as Harrison Ford, later went on to star in “Star Wars” as Hans Solo and “Indiana Jones” among other films.
Kruse referred to the next VIP as Soloman.
“Story two is about a failed store owner,” Kruse said.
Soloman grew up on a farm in Missouri he had bad vision that kept him out of military school, but managed to pull a stint in the Army, Kruse said. He failed as a farmer, miner, and as a clothing store owner.
“Soloman did not have a very good run starting out,” Kruse said.
However, Soloman found a job that he became successful at and eventually ran the organization.
“Some folks said he ran it really badly for a while. He ended up being hugely unpopular, but in years later, people looking back said that he actually was one of the best to ever run that organization,” Kruse said.
The person Kruse was talking about was the 33rd president, Harry S. Truman.
Finally, the third person Kruse talked about is a teacher at St. Clair High.
“This VIP has to deal with so many people,” Kruse said.
He referred to this teacher as Kim who grew up in the Midwest and was an athlete.
“She always wanted to help people,” he said.
Kim went to college, received a degree and went to work for a large firm. She dealt with more than 100 clients a day, where she counseled and helped them, according to Kruse.
She put together an auxiliary program for her clients. Kruse said her colleagues joined in on the program.
“When you see her clients today that have been through her auxiliary program, (for) some, it made a big impact, (and for) some, not as much,” Kruse said.
The ones who benefited from the program gave them “a little bit more swagger in their step, a little straighter when they walked, a little brighter when they talked and it made a difference,” Kruse said.
Over the years, she has help more than 1,000 clients through her program. The teacher he talked about was Krimmel and VIP program.
All three people Kruse talked about had traits of working hard, learning, never giving up and lifting people up. Kruse said those qualities are what brought students to earn their VIP awards.
“Congratulations. Good work and keep it up,” Kruse said to students.
Not only did students receive an award, but also a T-shirt and a pizza party.
Community sponsors of the awards, T-shirts and pizza include F&M Bank, Benzamar, Inc., Country Mart, St. Clair Elks, Herff Jones Year Book, Domino’s and Pepsi of New Haven.