Soon, the iconic letterman’s jacket won’t be reserved just for athletes.
Sixty-two students and their parents received invitations to Wednesday’s first Block L Awards Ceremony at Lodi High School. These kids kept up at least a 3.8 grade-point average for their freshman year. If those grades continue, the students can add bronze, silver and gold pins to their letter.
So far, only the graduating class of 2014 is eligible for the award, but current freshmen are working toward the required GPA.
Lodi High counselors, along with college and career adviser Becky Jauregui, sponsor the awards after kick-starting it last year.
“We started it and we wanted to honor our kids who consistently work at that level,” said counselor Lyndon Blodgett.
The design is similar to a traditional letterman block, the kind sported by athletes on the famous jackets, but the colors are inverted and the word “Academic” is embroidered in capital letters down the block.
“We wanted to match, but also be a little different,” said Blodgett. There are other awards for students who perform well as athletes and students, but it was important to the counselors to specifically recognize academic achievement.
One plus is that all students with the qualifying grade level and GPA are in the running, regardless of what levels they are working at. Students who are still learning English or in special education can earn the letter along with their peers in Advanced Placement or other courses.
“There’s an opportunity to recognize their work at whatever level,” said Blodgett.
Students enjoyed breakfast in the cafeteria annex Wednesday morning while Blodgett read the list of names.
“I don’t think I’ll put it on a letterman’s jacket,” said Courtney Nelson, a sophomore. “I think I’ll frame it.”
Lisa Smith was proud to watch her daughter Samantha Smith accept her letter.
“She works very hard,” said Smith. “I think it’s a good idea. Not everyone is so into sports. It’s nice to see that recognition.”
Other Lodi High parents were also excited about the new award.
“It’s the first time I’ve heard of it, but I think it’s a great idea,” said Christine Franklin, mother of sophomore Thomas Franklin.
Counselor Michelle Cortez praised the students for their achievement.
“Your hard work and determination do not go unnoticed,” she said.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.