MEXICO — Middle-schoolers hooted, hollered, sang and cheered on some of their classmates as they wrapped a student in bright Christmas paper Thursday afternoon during Renaissance Day at Mountain Valley Middle School.

This was a special time to recognize and honor those students who have been good citizens, who have behaved well or stood out academically.

Assistant Principal Cheryl Gurney said the event is part of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support program that aims to improve student behavior.

Youngsters had earned “Hawk” tickets throughout the semester, then turned them in to “buy” items at the Hawks’ Loft Store prior to the assembly. Students earned them by being respectful and displaying good behavior during the first few months of the school year.

The assembly added even more incentives.

Prizes and money were donated by local businesses, the school’s Parent Teacher Organization and through the school budget for such successes as exceeding academic expectations, displaying good citizenship and for scholastic citizenship, which means award recipients got their homework in on time, completed makeup work and showed positive interaction with their peers.


The school’s choir, led by music teacher Evan Fellman, sang and seventh-grade teacher Steve LaPointe emceed the activity.

“Happy Birthday” was sung to special education teacher Jessica Casey and eighth-grade twins, Hailey and Alyssa Akers, who were celebrating birthdays that day.

The theme of the day was “Wrapped Up in Success.” Students wore handmade, decorated hats or wide ribbons around their waists to symbolize the theme.

A competition between the seventh- and eighth-graders to see how well they could wrap one of their classmates got lots of cheers.

Seventh-grader Denzel Gurney received the loudest cheers, winning the competition over eighth-grader Michael Babcock.

Cheryl Gurney said the school will hold another, similar celebration day in March for the end of the second trimester and a smaller event at the end of the school year to celebrate good behavior.

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