Want to know the recipe for success?
It was printed in the Peninsula Clarion's Schools section Wednesday. It goes something like this: Mix fairly equal parts of a terrific attitude, compassion, creativity, respect and reliability. Add healthy doses of a strong work ethic, an ability to set goals and see them to fruition, and a willingness to accept challenges. Blend with the ability to look at life's big picture and a commitment to whatever one pursues. Oh, and add a generous portion of a desire to help others and interests that go beyond one's self.
Sprinkle with more than a dash of parental involvement. It could make all the difference.
End result: Young people who excel in academics, athletics, music, drama whatever they choose to get involved in. And they're involved in a lot school activities, church activities, community service. Their lives don't revolve around themselves. In fact, one wonders when they find time to eat and sleep.
Earlier this month the Kenai Masonic Lodge No. 11 presented its annual outstanding student awards to one student in each public school within the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. It's a tradition that recognizes the best and brightest students on the peninsula.
In doing so, it's has become a tradition that also offers comfort and hope for the future: These kids have their acts together. Their enthusiasm and leadership abilities are something the older generation could learn something from.
It's interesting to hear some of the common themes from the students' lives. Inevitably, they have involved parents and they participate in lots of different activities in school, in church and in their community. At young ages, they already have established patterns of helping others. They also have developed their own unique leadership styles.
The things they accomplish are nothing short of inspiring.
Hats off to the Masons for bringing community recognition to these outstanding students.
And hats off to the students for consistently making excellence their standard in all aspects of their lives.
Speaking of excellence and good students, this year's crop of Caring for the Kenai winners also inspires awe.
More than 300 students participated in this year's environmental contest, in which they were asked to come up with a solution to the question: "What can I do, invent or create to better care for the environment on the Kenai Peninsula or to improve the area's preparedness for a natural disaster?"
The program, sponsored by Unocal Alaska and Agrium Kenai Nitrogen Products, gives cash awards to the best 12 proposals, as well as $500 to schools assigning the project. Additional grants are given to participating schools based on where the school's students place in the final oral competition.
Among the ideas coming out of the 14th annual contest: an aluminum walkway to protect Slikok Creek's banks, rubber nets for catch-and-release fishing, a teen guide to the environment, an environmental calendar, a photoremediation plan to keep the Kenai River watershed clean and research on generating electricity from the Kenai River.
The contest is a great way to connect students with the place where they live and give them some real-life, problem-solving experience.
Hats off to the sponsors and organizers who provide the opportunity and hats off to the students who work to make this a better place to live with their ideas.
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