PARIS – Nearly 100 high school students were recognized for their academic efforts and for their presence in class at the annual Viking Academic Corps Awards.

“This is a very large high school,” Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Principal Joseph Moore said Wednesday. “And one of the ways we like to make it a little smaller is recognize people as individuals.”

He said the students were being honored for their character, citizenship and personal achievement throughout the year.

“These are also the students that teachers say are a real pleasure to have in class,” Moore said.

The Viking Awards started nine years ago, according Dottie Millett, SAD 17 school board member and one of the founders of the awards.

“We wanted a way to reward students that were not ‘A’ students,” Millett said. “The goal is to recognize all students for academic achievement. We asked teachers for students who had shown leadership; who showed a positive change from the beginning of the year; and whose academic grade had improved or they showed improved leadership and weren’t recognized as a rule.”

Those who created the awards along with Millett were Matt and Dy-Anne Gurney, who is also a current SAD 17 board member, Phil Blood, a former principal, and Sue Parma.

The Viking Awards parents group has been recognizing an average of 100 students per year.

Millett said an interesting twist to the awards is that parents are notified that their child has received an award, but they are not told what the award is until their name is called at the event.

“I would get calls from parents asking me if this was a joke, because their kids never got an award,” Millett said. “I’d say, ‘No joke,’ and they would be so proud that their kid was being honored for being a student.”

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