Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Letters Aren't Just for Sports Anymore

Posted 03/16/2009 by Matt Kleberger

The Spartan community is rolling out a new reward program for students who excel academically.

Students at TJ are rewarded for academic achievement. photo by Kevin Fleming.

Students at TJ are rewarded for academic achievement. photo by Kevin Fleming.

One day Assistant Principal Scott Lessard was sitting in his office checking his
e-mail, talking to other TJ staff members, and doing whatever it is that administrators of high schools do when not interacting with students, when the phone rang.

The person on the other side of the line was a parent with an idea for a new program.  Lessard listened intently as the parent described this idea for TJ that other schools in DPS have already established as a regular practice.

Lessard thought about the idea for a minute and thought it would be a good thing for the school. It would show the degree of academic success the students inside the walls of TJ have accomplished.

Just as athletes excel on the court, field, etc., great students can now show off achievements in the same kind of way, from the classroom. Retroactive to the start of the 2007-2008 school year, sophomores, juniors and seniors attending TJ are eligible to receive a letter for their academic achievements.

“Other schools in the district have established successful academic achievement programs, and now it’s TJ’s turn to create its own. Our hope is to honor the students at TJ that have embraced our academic ideals and have demonstrated academic excellence over an extended period of time,” said Lessard.

This achievement would take time who attain. The requirement for this honor is to maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher for three consecutive semesters. Do this, and the student is entitled to the TJ letter, a pin, and the TJ Academic Excellence Certificate. For every year thereafter, a student fulfilling these requirements continually, and already in possession of an academic letter, can receive a hash pin indicating another year of academic excellence.

“$2,000 is needed for this first year of this award program for the nearly 250 students who could qualify,” said Lessard. “For the years to follow, an estimated $500 – $750 will be needed each year to continue the program.” Assisting Lessard with raising the funds for the academic excellence program is TJ DECA C0-Adviser Danny Showers as well as TJ Partners. Lessard reports that the program is underway and is half way to its $2,000 goal. The individual cost per student is $8-$10.

The academic excellence banquet is to be held in April for all students who qualify to receive recognition for their achievements. These students will also be the first to receive such an award in Thomas Jefferson High School History.

For more information on the academic excellence program, or if you would like to make a contribution to the campaign and show your support, contact Scott  Lessard at 720-423-7053.