Homewood-Flossmoor High School is recognized as an outstanding academic institution with great sports and extracurricular programs. And lots of great kids.
It’s that second part that doesn’t always get recognized, but the Viking Values program is trying to point out that perseverance, empathy, awareness, compassion and effort (PEACE) help make a well-rounded student.
“Kids are doing great things each day. Viking Values is really about promoting it in recognizing students when they are demonstrating these values. A lot of them fly under the radar,” said Nancy Spaniak, director of curriculum, instruction and professional development. She is responsible for Viking Values.
The values focus on:
Perseverance — Pursuing a goal despite challenges.
Empathy — Understanding and sharing another person’s feelings.
Awareness — Thinking about what’s happening and possible consequences.
Compassion — Showing genuine concern for others.
Effort — Exerting power to achieve a goal or overcome a problem.
The program, now in its third year, gives teachers, staff and other students the chance to nominate students from any grade level for the Viking Values honor using one of the five attributes. Viking Values students are announced each week.
A teacher spearheaded the idea for the program, and used the PEACE acronym. When the idea was presented to the Social-Emotional Subcommittee of the School Improvement Committee, “everyone was very receptive,” Spaniak said.
The program aligns with the Illinois State Board of Education’s social-emotional learning standards “as well as H-F’s own mission to ‘improve the quality of each student’s life’ by advancing the ethical, emotional and social development of all,” Spaniak said.
H-F’s subcommittee and full committee studied the idea and came up with the five values, worked on a logo and the appropriate recognition so that Viking Values would be ready to launch in August 2017, the start of the 2017-18 school year.
Spaniak is delighted to see how the program is reaching more students. During the 2017-18 school year, 72 students were recognized. Last year, 101 students were honored, and during the first quarter of this year, 59 students were recognized, Spaniak said.
The students commended for their efforts receive a letter from Superintendent Von Mansfield and Principal Jerry Lee Anderson, and a Viking Values T-shirt. If a teacher made the nomination, the teacher will recognize the student during class.
Spaniak shared several nominations:
“Recently, I took my microbiology classes outside to walk around the Bio Pond and make observations. Every single piece of trash Jade came upon she picked up and put in the garbage can. I told her I was very impressed with her actions, and she said: ‘It’s really not that difficult to do. Any little bit helps.’ I am genuinely in awe of Jade’s compassion for the environment.”
“This morning NiKyla, who is not my student, came into my room right after the 7:30 bell rang to return a student’s phone that was left in the hallway. NiKyla mentioned that when she lost her phone, she panicked, and she didn’t want someone else to have the same experience.”
“I am nominating Jamie for her demonstration of awareness. Before our lesson began, Jamie told my co-teacher that she had the teacher’s edition of the unit packet, which contained all of the answers and annotations.”
“Although Dasia works a full-time job, she has managed to persevere and put forth great effort in her students. Keep up the good work, Dasia!”