Lordstown to offer 'smarts' letters

Pupils in grades seven through 12 who maintain a 3.2 GPA over the year are eligible.
LORDSTOWN -- Pupils in the running for an academic letter at the end of this year see the program as a way to recognize achievements in the classroom.
High school Principal Larry Crawford proposed the idea this year to recognize pupils who excel in the classroom. The school board approved it last month.
How it works: Under the program, pupils in grades seven through 12 who maintain a 3.2 grade-point average over the school year will earn an academic letter.
"We'll try to differentiate them in some way" from letters earned by athletes, Crawford said. "We'll probably put an academic emblem on them."
The school year is divided into four nine-week grading periods, and pupils recently received their first report cards for the school year.
Pupils earning the honor will get a letter the first year of their accomplishment and gold bars for each additional year.
Four freshmen whose grades at the end of the first grading period put them on pace for the award support the idea.
Announcement: Pupils received a letter at the beginning of the school year, informing them of the new program.
"I think it's nice," said Jennifer Bennett.
It will allow those who excel in the classroom rather than on an athletic field to get some recognition, the pupils said.
"It'll give more motivation," added Ryan Kaczowka.
Emily Rech knows of one classmate who devotes all of his time to academics. The new feature will enable him to be recognized in a way similar to athletes for his achievements.
Although the four say they'd strive for good grades whether there was an opportunity for recognition or not, they view it as a positive for others.
"My parents expect me to get good grades," said Max Gibson.
Other activities: Each of the four also participates in school sports. Jennifer plays volleyball, basketball and softball, and Emily is on the volleyball and basketball teams.
Max plays soccer, basketball and baseball, and Ryan runs track and is on the soccer and basketball teams.
Crawford said pupils who earn the letters this school year will receive them at a banquet next fall. The school may start a program recognizing achievements in other school activities as well.
"That's something we're taking a look at, but right now it's just for academics," the principal said. "You have to walk before you can crawl."

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