As a student at middle school, you might have been worried if you heard the principal call your name. At Delta Middle School, hearing the principal call your name might be your proudest moment. Middle school can be a challenging experience, so knowing you are appreciated can be reassuring. Rewarding students for hard work and excellent behavior is the best way to teach students they can make a difference doing the right thing.
Several years ago an old tradition was revived at Delta Middle School. The goal was to encourage positive behavior and effort, so the Golden Panther award was reborn. "This is not only for one character trait, but many," according to Deanne Olivas, sixth grade social studies teacher. The Golden Panther award celebrates the following traits:
• P - Perseverance
• A - Active
• N - Encouraging
• T - Thankful
• H - Honesty
• E - Effort
• R - Respect
These same traits are used for Student of the Month awards, but students can only receive one of those awards each year, regardless of whether they are worthy candidates. However, students that exemplify all of these traits are not ignored. They can be nominated for the Golden Panther. Individual teachers nominate the winners, but the staff must approve them. And that is only one of the awards for students.
Each year, DMS selects students from the eighth grade for the Hall of Honor Award. This prestigious award is awarded only once a year to eighth grade students for their character and behavior during all three years at Delta Middle School. This means there can be many winners, but few students can actually meet that high standard for the entirety of their middle school years. In the past, there have been as many as 18 honorees, some years as few as seven. Since 2009, students who achieve this high honor are also commemorated with a special glazed tile (with their name and design) that is permanently mounted in the east hallway of the seventh and eighth grade building of the middle school. Students who win the Hall of Honor Award almost always go on to future success in high school and college, because this award is really a sign of the individual's character and determination.
The Panther Elite award is another achievement for students at Delta Middle School. Panther Elites are students who participated in every sport possible for seventh and eighth grade boys or girls. All students can qualify for this award, but they have to remain eligible for the season. That means their grades have to be above an "F" every week. Managing a sport and their classes can be very demanding. For boys, this means their fall sport will be cross-country or football, their winter sports must be basketball and wrestling, and in the spring, they are in track. For girls, their fall sport must be cross-country or volleyball, their winter sport must be basketball or wrestling, and in the spring, they must be in track.
Delta Middle School truly values all students, awards or not. But those students who go the extra mile are noticed and appreciated.