Vikings are being valued at H-F



Viking Values is one way H-F students can be recognized for their hard work.

Teachers, staff and students can nominate students in any grade level and the winners are announced every week.

“The students receive their letters either directly from the nominator or through the mail,” H-F’s Director of Curriculum, Nancy Spaniak said. The program goes into the Illinois State Board of Education’s social-emotional learning standards.

Regina Slusinksi, H-F Science teacher, brought the idea to Spaniak in the summer of 2017 and Spaniak then took the idea to the School Improvement Committee that fall. This school year marks the third year of Viking Values being at H-F.

The winners come down to the principal’s office to receive their Viking Values shirt, which gives Spaniak and the principal, Dr. Jerry Anderson, a chance to congratulate the recognized students in person. It’s hard to show appreciation and support to every student who is doing good.

There are five categories that students can be nominated into, which consist of Perseverance, Empathy, Awareness, Compassion and Effort, otherwise known as the PEACE acronym..

Perseverance which means pursuing a goal despite challenges. Empathy means understanding and sharing another person’s feelings. Awareness means thinking about what’s happening and possible consequences. Compassion means showing genuine concern for others. Effort means exerting power to achieve a goal or overcome a problem.

“All of these things are really life skills,” Slusinski said. “This is character building and people are going to see these things about you.”

Students aren’t just being nominated for their academic behavior, but for the way they are able to grow personally, socially and emotionally.

Social worker Lauren White said she looks “more at the social/emotional growth within the academic setting.”

Viking Values are meant to recognize the people who did something that they wouldn’t usually do or are doing something that’s making a change, which is where the growing comes from.

“Some people regularly are such good people and need to be recognized for those efforts,” Anne Calderon, H-F English teacher, said, “Sometimes students do something really outstanding and this gives us the chance to give them a moment to shine.”

According to Jeanne Miller, H-F English teacher, rewarding students also, “creates a sense of balance in the classroom.” Shining a brighter light on the good things instead of the bad things. “If we only focus on negative behaviors, it starts to appear as though no positive things occur in our classrooms,”

H-F also has Student of the Month and Student of the Quarter, which are both department chosen and are two other ways of nominating students, but at a school as big as this “there are so many other students who also deserve praise,” said Calderon.

Staff members who have recognized students in the past  have said that it’s a positive experience for both them and the students. “Positivity attracts more positivity,” said Spaniak.

Every time a student is rewarded for the good they do, the more good they want to do, which only brings more positivity into our school.

“It’s very important to do good around school cause it helps you have a good reputation and also the teachers and everyone else know that your dependable and your very nice to work with,” said freshman Keyonna Ross.

Students who are nominated are adding onto the reputation of H-F. Teaching students that what they did was right also better helps them in the community where H-F has this reputation.

“Taking time out to recognize this, helps our whole community feel supported and connected,which will provide more and more success,” White explained.

Again, you don’t have to be a teacher to nominate a student.  Students can nominate another student from the Viking Values link on the student webpage. Recognizing students for the good they do helps add onto a positive school environment.