The Edmond Sun

September 28, 2012

Orvis Risner shows off its S.W.A.G.

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Orvis Risner Elementary students rose up on the wings of their school mascot, the Eagle, as they sang their school song, “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” quoted the 8 Expectations they live by to achieve greatness and recognized the 35 students nominated by their individual teachers and principal as outstanding examples of S.W.A.G.

For the parents, Principal Shana Perry explained what S.W.A.G. means to the hip hop culture, rappers and artists. “They think ‘they’ve got it going on,’ Perry said, “while at Orvis Risner S.W.A.G. means ‘Students Willing to Achieve Greatness.’”

Fifth-grader Joshua Dedic led the students in saying the Eight Expectations of life principles for the students as their parents looked on in a standing-room only gymnasium Thursday morning.

Speech pathologist Kathy Appleyard was awarded “The Midas Touch” for going above and beyond in helping the students, Perry said.

Perry explained she had read “The Midas Touch” to the students at the beginning of the school year and from that the award was born. The story is about the gift of profiting from whatever one undertakes.

“We give this award each week to a teacher or education professional, and I think it helps the students look at their teachers and value them more,” Perry said. “I have students and parents alike telling me stories about what a teacher has done for them.”

Each day more than 700 children, pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade, accept the challenge to be leaders and learners as they travel the path to being good citizens.

On Thursday the air was electrified as each student listened quietly as their new principal told them that each of them could achieve greatness and outlined how they could do it.

Perry and all 34 of the teachers wore T-shirts with S.W.A.G. Master emblazoned on them as Perry explained the new recognition program for the students.

“The students, formerly known as Students of the Week, are now called A Great Somebody!”

As the 35 students’ names were called, they were given a black T-shirt with S.W.A.G. on the front of it, a recognition paper with comments from the teacher who nominated them and one other teacher, two friends and their parents. Then each student was invited to stand on the risers while they were recognized by the entire school.

Among the comments made by A Great Somebody! kindergartner McKenna Meyers’ teachers, friends and parents was, “McKenna always has a smile on her face. She is a good friend. She loves a challenge and hates failure.”  

Each month 35 additional students will be recognized with T-shirts paid for by a donation to the school from Big Lots!, which recently moved a store location back into Edmond on South Broadway.

“I had the idea for S.W.A.G. this summer, but I didn’t know how I would pay for the T-shirts,” Perry said.

When Big Lots! comes into a community they make a donation to a local school.

“With the $2,500 check given to the school I was able to pay for the T-shirts for the students,” Perry added.

The students’ enthusiasm built to a crescendo throughout the assembly and was exhibited not only through music with students following along, but through song and even through the moments of silence when they listened attentively to their principal.

One parent leaving the assembly said, “I just want to move in here, it is so wonderful!”