Superintendent personally funds student motivation program
By John Sharp
New Hickman Mills School Superintendent Yaw Obeng has started a new program that provides monetary awards and prizes financed by his $10,000 personal donation to students who demonstrate outstanding educational commitment.
Throughout this school year and perhaps stretching into the next school year, Obeng will present Above and Beyond awards to students recommended by district staff or community organizations for their educational commitment, service to their schools or to the community, leadership and good character.
“I want people to believe in our students,” Obeng said, explaining that one of the best ways to foster such belief is to demonstrate that school district leaders and staff believe in them as well.
“I’m glad to be able to shine a spotlight on our students,” he said, noting that he was as excited about presenting the awards as the first two recipients were about receiving them.
He said he was really impressed that the first two recipients both said they would use some of their award money to help others. “When I was their age, I probably would have spent it on sneakers,” he said.
He noted he also wants the students to know that district leaders are investing in their success to motivate and inspire them.
Obeng said he will vary the prizes and monetary awards to keep students’ interest.
Superintendent Obeng presented a $500 check to Jett J., a second grader at Truman Elementary School, who received an Above and Beyond award which recognizes district students who demonstrate outstanding commitment to their education. This school year Jett has had perfect attendance in his virtual classes and has completed 100% of his classwork.
Superintendent Obeng presented another $500 check to Diamond O., a junior at Ruskin High School, who was the other initial recipient of an Above and Beyond award for outstanding educational commitment. This school year Diamond has straight A’s in her coursework and she has maintained mostly A’s since her freshman year.