Ceremony held for over 170 students who received academic letters

179 students stand with their academic letters during the ceremony on Dec. 2

179 students stand with their academic letters during the ceremony on Dec. 2

Clara Sloan, Staff Reporter

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Directly after a victory by the girls’ varsity basketball team on Friday, Dec. 2, over 170 students walked through the gym and formed a U-shape while waving to the crowd, white envelopes in hand.

Weeks before this, the same students received letters in the mail informing them that they, along with their parents, had been invited to attend a ceremony recognizing them for maintaining at least a 3.7 GPA for two consecutive semesters during the 2015–16 school year.

Sophomore students received their first academic letter and pin, while upperclassmen were given another pin to add to their letter.

According to Principal Dustin Mortenson, 179 students qualified for letters and pins this year–a major improvement from previous years.

Mortenson believes that the cause for the increase in students meeting this goal comes down to three things: the focus and ambition of the students, the incentives available to the students (such as the union) and the devotion that the teachers have for the students.

“Any time students want to do well and adults enjoy being with them, that results in the environment that we have here,” Mortenson said.

Among those 179 students was sophomore Alyssa Perry, who agrees that the “good learning environment here at DHS” plays a major role in students obtaining better grades.

“I think it says a lot about the teachers here at De Soto,” Perry said. “I can definitely tell that a lot of them are very passionate about their job.”

During the ceremony, Mortenson gave a few words of praise for the students’ accomplishment. After a second–and third–applause, the students were free to go back their friends and family in the stands to watch the boys’ varsity basketball game.

Though rewarding, the briefness of the ceremony in between games did not sit well with some of the students.

“I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t have a separate ceremony for recognizing these individuals,” Perry said. “I think it would have made [the experience] more meaningful.”

Conveniently, Mortenson is already thinking of ways to improve the ceremony.

“We just haven’t thrown enough energy at it yet. One thing that I would like to explore in the future is an academic night where we recognize students [and] maybe even eat supper together and dress up,” Mortenson said.

Future academic ceremonies, he said, could possibly even be spent at a restaurant with the top 5 percent invited.

“These are things we have brainstormed, but we’re not in the position to do yet. I can, however, see something of this nature happening in the future.”

Sophomore Alyssa Perry poses with her first academic letter.