St. Clair High School’s Very Important Person recognition program came to an end for another year last Thursday after 37 more students were added to the 2011-2012 list.
In all, 159 local high-schoolers earned the honor during this calendar year.
“To me, a SCHS VIP may not necessarily be the president of a club, or captain of a team, not even the drum major of the band,” SCHS instrumental band director Paul Swofford told those in attendance, including the fourth-quarter VIP recipients, during Thursday’s ceremony in the SCHS auditorium. “A SCHS VIP to me is a smiling face in the hall or classroom. It is a helping hand. It is the voice of reason in a difficult situation.”
Swofford and his wife, Elaine, are retiring from the St. Clair R-XIII School District at the end of the academic year. They have been teachers in the district for 30 years.
“There is a saying that goes like this, ‘You can be part of the problem or you can be part of the solution.’” Swofford said. “VIPs are part of the solution. Oh, you’re not looking to be the teacher’s pet, or Goody Two-Shoes, you may even have an ornery streak about you, and that’s OK. But in my years at St. Clair I have come to believe that you are the glue that keeps us together. You are the maintainers of common sense. You chose to do something with your life, and will not settle with what is handed you. You want something better not only for you, but for your family, your school and community.”
Teacher Melissa Krimmel is in charge of the SCHS Renaissance Club, which oversees the VIP program. She refers to VIPs as “the best of the best” within the hallways at the school.
The honor can be given to any freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. Each quarter, each SCHS teacher may nominate one student to receive the recognition.
“This honor means a teacher has recognized that you have priorities, you have ethics, and you have a will to succeed and more importantly, a willingness to help others succeed,” Swofford said. “An honor such as this is a wonderful way for the school and community to recognize and celebrate the choices, and sometimes the sacrifices, you have made.”
“But I believe that what should make you and your parents the most proud is not the actual honor itself, but what you had to do to get it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.’ Any recognition is just the icing on the cake, not to be expected but definitely to be enjoyed.”
Swofford issued a challenge to the VIP recipients, however.
“I challenge you not to rest on your laurels but to continue to strive toward even loftier goals,” he said. “While it would be easier to slide through life without a purpose, without a code, it would not be fulfilling. Only by setting difficult goals and achieving them can we find true self-worth.
“I congratulate you for this honor. You are truly the best of the best. Enjoy yourself, and remember as Mother Teresa said, ‘Life is a promise, fulfill it.’”
Fourth-quarter VIPs are Laura Bardot, Caitlyn Beckmann, Jason Byerley, Julia Click, Alicia Collings, Samantha Deason, Samantha Dierker, Madison Erbes, Rylee Estes, Thomas Fabry, Kyle Gebhard, Johnny Gossage, Caleb Henry, Skyler Hutchison, Matt Jones, Alex Kammer, Audrey Kornucik, Kirsten Krier, Mercedes Mangrum, Wyatt Mehler, Jacob Messex, Toni Mullaney, Miranda Murphy, Emmy Naes, Darby Parham, Kristen Pelton, Dustin Reinhardt, Alyx Rhodes, Kris Rosson, Shane Schmidt, Savannah Scott, Tiffany Sellers, Jacob Sheer, Jenny Thurmond, Taylor Townsend, Aaron Trautman and Jake Yerkey.