- Sponsorship -

Pride reaches far and wide, thanks to incentive program

Traits recognized carry over into world of work

In a big school, the same few athletes and academic superstars tend to get most of the recognition. But Byron Center students say they want to give shout-outs to the hundreds of students who are “doing the right things.”

A new program, BC P.R.I.D.E, gives students credit – platinum or gold card membership, to be exact – for character and hard work, while showcasing pride in their school and spreading it to the community. Already, more than 300 students have earned memberships.

The high school created the incentive using Jostens Renaissance Education program as a model, and customized it for the district based on input from students. While it does honor good grades and significant GPA improvements, it also recognizes character traits that go beyond straight As on a report card. P.R.I.D.E stands for perseverance, respect, integrity, discovery and excellence in the classroom, campus and community.

“Our school is growing so much and it’s getting so much bigger. I feel like the bigger it gets, the harder it is to make connections and make everyone feel special and reward them,” said senior Lizzie Allison, who worked to develop the program last school year with fellow Life and Leadership Program students. “The BC P.R.I.D.E program helps students get more involved and feel more of a pride for their school.”

To be a member, students need to have a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher for the platinum card; and a 3.5 or higher or .25 GPA growth from the previous semester for the gold card. They also have to be proficient in all sections of standardized tests in the previous school year for platinum, or be proficient or show 100 point growth for gold. They must also meet behavior and attendance criteria.

Jobs are waiting for students who want to put their skills to use

Cards with Perks

Lizzie and other students wanted to make sure the program’s reach went beyond school walls. “We wanted to create an aspect that was about the community as well,” she  said. “It’s us representing the school everywhere, not just when we are at school but when we are working at a job or going to those places.”

BC P.R.I.D.E members receive perks from community businesses, free admission to school athletic events and free student parking passes. They also enjoy monthly Donut Days, sponsored by local businesses and organizations. Sponsors include the U.S. Army, Health Bridge and Mathnasium, Lake Michigan Credit Union, Plummers Environmental Services and South Kent Rotary. Drawings for prizes given by colleges and businesses each month, and a chance for a Root Beer Float party with up to four friends also are held every month.

Donna Hogoboom, student services and BC P.R.I.D.E coordinator, said businesses will soon be involved in other ways, possibly leading sessions on finances and milestones like buying a car or hosting mock interviews. “It’s opening doors to get kids comfortable with businesses. It could lead to interviews or full-time jobs,” she said.

Hogoboom is also secretary of the Byron Center Chamber of Commerce. “The skills they have that we’re recognizing are those skills that make a good employee,” she said. “Talking to business owners will give them a perspective of jobs, what it takes to get them and connect the local business community with students. I think it’s a win-win all the way around.”

Junior Andrew Agius, a platinum card holder, already sees the relationships students are building with his parents, Rosalia LoPiparo and Salvatore Agius, who own the local Mineo’s Pizza.

“This brings a connection where they can see the younger generation come in and even apply for jobs. I know we have one or two students who have come in because of BC P.R.I.D.E. They didn’t even know we were there and now they work for us.

“I feel like it connects the whole community together and it involves (linking) the younger generation in high school to the local business owners.”

Junior Andrew Agius and senior Lizzie Allison are helping build BC P.R.I.D.E

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Class of 2021 has ‘test-optional’ choice when applying for college

Most schools in the state of Michigan have become SAT/ACT-optional for the Class of 2021 for admission purposes. There are, however, pros and cons for students...

Schools in nine districts announce closures as COVID cases spike

New temporary school building closures were announced by nine school districts in Kent ISD this week, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...

Musical prodigy, international performer, fourth-grader

When Cameron Renshaw was in kindergarten he kept asking his mom, Tina Renshaw, about the cello in her closet...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU