Malvern creates new format for quarterly honors assemblies

Mark Chakejian

New interactive format receives mixed feedback from students.

At the first quarter’s honors assemblies, students were introduced to a new format for quarterly honors assemblies for the 2016-2017 school year.

Distinguished honors students were called to stage, while first and second honors students are now recognized by being called to stand at their seat. The new award is called the Spirit of Augustine award, presented to a student who exemplifies the values of Malvern Prep.

The honors assemblies were the same for many years. Students who received honors at all levels were simply called to stage to receive certificates.

This year’s honors assemblies have decreased the focus on GPA and recognizing honors, according to School Counselor Ms. Korin Folan. However, these topics are still a significant part of the presentation.

“We are still recognizing distinguished honors by having those boys come up to the stage and having those boys who receive first and second honors stand to be recognized,” Folan said.

According to Dean of Faculty Coaching and Development Mrs. Beverly Gordon, the new format of the honors assembly came from a specific group of teachers.

Gordon led the faculty summer institute in summer 2016. “The summer institute project for this past summer was if there was one thing faculty would add or improve to benefit the students, what would it be,” Gordon said.

Gordon said that Folan, Department Leader Mr. Jay Schiller, Science Teacher Mrs. Anna Geider, and Art Teacher Mr. Robert Muntz came up with the idea to reformat the honors assembly.

“It was fully their design,” Gordon said. “They came up with the spirit of Augustine Award, and a pilot of the honors assembly to present to the other teachers.”

The Spirit of Augustine award was presented to one student in each academic department, at each grade level assembly. The award was not given to the student with the best GPA, but to the one who embodies great work ethic and Augustinian values.

“The award goes to a student who embodies the mission of the school, and the venn diagram of global citizenship, entrepreneurship, and Augustinian values,” Folan said. “This award is voted on by each department of the school.”

Part of the assembly was dedicated to a slideshow showing parents and students the work done this quarter. Folan organized the slideshows featured at each assembly. They deemed this slideshow as the showcase of learning.

“A few weeks before the assemblies, we sent out an email to all faculty and students, asking for them to send any pictures or projects that they wanted to share,” Folan said. “We received feedback from teachers talking about what they did in class, and how they wanted to have their students present it to the school.”

The showcase was open for everyone to submit their accomplishments during the quarter.

“We invited everybody to submit pictures, videos, and projects,” she said. We are hoping that in the future the robotics team will bring out the robot and show everybody what it can do.”

To obtain pictures for the slideshow, Folan took pictures from the Malvern website and and the marketing department.

The creators of the new assembly are eager to hear feedback to improve it.

“The hope of the group is that they would ask for and collect feedback on what students, faculty, and parents felt about the redesign,” Gordon said.

Senior Shane Muntz was happy with the new style of the assembly, but believes there is still room for improvement.

“I liked how the assembly went at a faster pace and was not dragged out,” Muntz said. “However, I believe that if second and first honor students are not going up on stage, then neither should the distinguished honors.”

Muntz believes all levels of honors should be recognized equally at their seats because everyone is working hard to achieve their goals.

However, overall Muntz was pleased with the new format of the assembly.“The new assembly is definitely better than the ones from freshman, sophomore, and junior year,” he said.

Junior John Powers was disappointed with the new format of the assemblies.

“I don’t like the new assembly because the kids who got first and second honors are left out,” Powers said. “Some kids may have gotten honors for the first time and were very excited to be recognized on the stage.”

“My primary hope is that everyone enjoys the assemblies now that they’ve had a chance to see the new format,” Folan said.

Folan said the same format will be used for the next assembly, and afterwards a survey will be sent out to see if there are any suggestions or adjustments from the community.

“We will still keep the three aspects as the focus – honors, Spirit of Augustine award, and the Showcase of Learning,” Folan said, “These are three things that we thought were not non-negotiable and really wanted in the assemblies, but we are open to changing the format and how we present these things at the assemblies.”

According to Folan, the assemblies are primarily for the students. Eventually, she would like to see students take an active role in leading the honors assemblies.

“First we are looking for more student involvement, and then eventually looking for students to take over the assemblies and run them,” she said.

Story produced in senior Journalism and Media Literacy elective class. Michael Harrington ’19 contributed.