Students often aim to achieve success at school to obtain a sense of confidence and pride or simply to feel satisfied. In some instances, students can even be rewarded for their achievements through awards. Awards have always acted as a motivator for students to work hard and push themselves to their fullest potential. On the other hand, it can simply be a reward for students that have demonstrated an exemplary work ethic. There are several different awards that can be given out to students that meet the requirements. Although there are various awards, people should understand that if there is no true merit or significance for the award, it should not be considered an honor. Thus, students should focus their efforts on challenging themselves to accomplish greater achievements, not just on winning awards. It is time for students to take advantage of their potential and the future rewards that await them.
The Truth About Trophies
When DJ Khaled released his 2008 hit song “All I Do Is Win,” the song quickly hit the Billboard Top 100, not only because of the song’s catchy chorus but perhaps also because it accurately captured humanity’s innate desire to always come out on top. Whether it be at the Grammys, Oscars or Golden Globes, winning awards is a feeling that everyone desires. However, what causes such ambition or happiness? What makes a trophy worth more than its physical form?
In 2006, researchers from Toronto’s Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Center conducted a study that revealed that Academy Award-winning actors and directors tended to live longer than their runner-ups. “We are not saying that you will live longer if you win an Academy Award,” said Donald Redelmeier, the lead author of the study, “Our main conclusion is simply that social factors are important… It suggests that an internal sense of self-esteem is an important aspect to health and health care.”
As it turns out, according to a CBS article, winning triggers a release of dopamine in the brain, causing a feeling that makes people happy and competitive. While awards promote a healthy ambition, people often associate winning with being the best. This sense of competition, despite the lack of permanence in the satisfaction it brings, leads to competitive mindsets and drive. As long as pursuing awards is kept at a healthy balance, winning accolades can create confidence and purpose within a person.
A for Effort
The “everyone’s a winner” mentality has emerged and is becoming more prevalent in the world today. In a match there are winners and losers. If a team wants a trophy, they have to be the best. However, the standards to be considered a winner are changing. It is becoming more common for children to receive a participation trophy. The phrase “A for effort” is seen as a compliment and a sense of achievement. A Princeton study on social interactions analyzed that schools, social interactions, even jobs are being influenced by this phenomenon.
By making everyone a winner, students are losing out on learning how to lose graciously or pick themselves up from a failure. Trying one’s best never guarantees that they will get the dream job, the big promotion or meet the requirements. Many argue that the biggest lesson sports teach athletes is how to face defeat and return another day to try and improve their game; until one day when they can put themselves and their team in a position to win. Yet, they remind students that their effort, regardless of ability or results, is valued. Participation trophies tell them that what matters is showing up for practice, learning the rules and rituals of the game and working hard.
The idea that trophies create an entitled generation who learn to expect praise for participation clashes with the idea of commitment and determination. There has been little research to prove the benefits or harm of participation trophies in sports. For now, participation trophies will continue to symbolize a transition to the different perspectives on the growth of students, athletes and workers.
There are many types of awards in high school. They can range from academic awards to extracurricular awards. A few of these awards include CSF, National Forensic League and MDDTUSA.
CSF, or California Scholarship Federation is a program that was started in 1921 by Charles F. Seymour. CSF is about recognizing students and their outstanding academic achievements. There are three types of awards given out, the first being the Seymour, which is considered one of the highest honors given to a high school student. The second award is the Outstanding Sealbearer, which is an award of $1,000 for students who do not qualify for the Seymour. There is also a third award which is for seniors who are part of the CSF chapter. Colleges throughout the nation still participate in this program, recognizing students for their great academic accomplishments.
Another company that gives awards and scholarships is the National Forensic League. The National Forensic League, now known as the National Speech and Debate Association, was founded by Bruno E. Jacob in 1925. The school with the most advancing rounds at the speech and debate tournament receives the Bruno E. Jacob award. There are also sweepstakes awards given out to the top schools at the tournaments.
MDDTUSA is another competition which frequently awards prizes to high school students. Miss Dance Drill Team USA founded by Kay Teer Crawford, is a dance competition for dance teams and studios. MDDTUSA has a scholarship foundation which gives out three types of scholarships to students: The Dr. Kay T. Crawford award, The National Solo Title Pageant Award and the Brenda Caspary-Crawford Scholarship award.
These are just a few of the many awards students are able to earn in school. With these and the many other awards available, students will continue to work hard physically and academically to strive for excellence.
Achievements Through History
Ever since ancient times, awards have been used to recognize outstanding victories. In fact, the English word trophy was derived from the French term trophée, which means “a prize of war” and the Latin term trophaeum, which means “monument to victory.”
Awards today do not look the way they did in the classical times, however. After a victory on the battlefield, the Greeks would use the arms and armors of their opponents to construct a trophy. The Romans’ awards took the form of columns and arches. There were also smaller awards, such as a twisted olive branch used at the original Olympic games in Greece. Although this does not seem like a lot today, it was a serious symbol of status in those times, given only to the most elite athlete.
In the Middle Ages, chalices were given to winners of sporting events. These chalices are the foundation of the modern-day cup-shaped trophies, such as the Davis Cup and the Stanley Cup.
Awards have also come to recognize achievement in music, acting, scholarly work and many other categories. For example, the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theater. It was first awarded in 1949 and has numerous categories, such as Best Choreography and Best Play. Another well-known award is the Nobel Prize, a set of prizes that recognize academic, cultural and scientific advances. The first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1901.
The desire for recognition is an integral part of being human. History demonstrates this through the use of awards and trophies which have been used to mark achievement since the ancient times.
1. Walt Disney holds the record for winning the most number of Oscars by an individual.
2. In 1934, Shirley Temple was the youngest person to receive an award at 5 years old.
3. The only movies to win 11 awards in one ceremony include ‘Titanic,’ The Lord of the Rings and Ben-Hur.
4. La La Land made history in January, breaking the record for the most Golden Globes won by a single film by snagging all seven of the awards for which it was nominated.
5. The Oscars are not open to the public.
6. One-quarter of the presidents have won a grammy, including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
7. About 27 awards have been discontinued from the MTV VMA’s.
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