The Breakfast of Champions; Character Awards at OBHS
On Friday, May 26, Oyster Bay High School continued a new tradition in which student character was recognized. This event was the “Breakfast of Champions” and it was initiated by Kevin Trentowski, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, Tim McCarthy, High School Assistant Principal, and Chris Weber, High School Librarian.
Kevin Trentowski stated, “This is a busy time of the year with so many exciting awards nights and banquets that recognize academics, athletics, and other important accomplishments. I thought that it was time we did something new by honoring students who offer qualities that make Oyster Bay High School a great place despite not being measurable in a score. This event proved to be a very special occasion judging by the reactions of the students, teachers and audience.”
Back in April, the staff at the high school was given the task of selecting and identifying students with strong character or those that have overcome personal obstacles. Once nominations were collected and finalized, the award-winning students were called down and told they were receiving an award for character but they were not told who nominated them. This made the build up to the breakfast more exciting as these students were very curious about who thought so highly of them. Students also had their pictures taken at this time and they were eventually superimposed on Wheaties cereal covers since Wheaties is “The Breakfast of Champions.” OBHS Art Teacher, Mr. Scott Boris personally created each and every student’s Wheaties box graphic.
Ms. Andrea Breun had this to say about the event: “I was happy to attend the event and be a part of the ‘Breakfast of Champions.’ There was lots of excitement and warmth in the room.”
Ms. Ellen Batsford reflected by saying, “It was the most meaningful awards ceremony I have ever been a part of here at OBHS. A number of parents have said the same thing. I felt very emotional during the ceremony. Honoring character is the highest accolade a student can receive. This recognition of character promotes kindness and compassion in the building among staff and students alike. We need this more than ever.”
Ms. Migdalia Rosario shared the following thoughts: “I had to hold back tears during my own presentation and through the entire award ceremony. Every speaker was there because they truly believed in their student and it was evident when you listened to each presenter speak about their nominee.”
Ms. Amanda McEvoy offered this reflection: “I decided to nominate a student for the Breakfast of Champions because I felt it was a really unique award ceremony. Students are always being praised for their achievements in academics and sports, but this was all about awarding students for character. Let's face it, what we remember most about a person is the way that they treat us and the others around them. These students are showing their peers and teachers kindness and respect and that's something very admirable. Oyster Bay has always focused on character education, which helps produce the most well rounded adults possible. This award ceremony is a perfect fit for our community.
During the event I was overcome with emotions. There's nothing better than acknowledging how important it is to treat others well. I would be lying if I said tears weren't shed throughout the ceremony. Having the opportunity to express to a student what an impact he has on my day to day life in front of his peers, parents and other teachers was an incredible experience. It was a room filled with love, respect and friendship. Children deserve to know how special they are to all of the adults in their lives.”
Mr. Ed Herrera said, “The student I nominated does not play sports, nor does he have an excellent academic record. The student works full time at a restaurant after school and is not proficient in English. Despite his situation, the student comes to school every day with great enthusiasm. His effort and desire to learn is commendable and inspiring. I deemed it important to recognize students not only on their academic achievements and/or athletic ability, but also on all the other factors that make us well-rounded human beings. Traits such as perseverance, effort, honesty should also be fostered and recognized.”
Ms. Caroline Avari spoke about the experience saying, “I welcomed this first opportunity to nominate a student that demonstrates what we normally don't reward. I was very happy to recognize one of my students for an exemplary testimony of character by going above and beyond what is asked of a student. I firmly believe that we need to showcase students that model citizenship, kindness towards others in our schools, or personal effort.
Giving this award and participating in such event was very emotional. I feel I got to know personally each and every individual that was nominated thanks to what every teacher said. I felt very proud of all of them and, to be working is such a school district.”
Students really appreciated the event and its unique stance on the importance of character. Students shared their thoughts: "The event was very well done. A lot of laughs were shared and I felt really special after being recognized. All of the recipients were so gracious in receiving their award; it made me feel honored to be in a classroom with such high character students. It’s just nice to feel that your kind acts are actually noticed and it inspires you to keep doing them."
Another student shared, “It was an honor to have been invited to the Breakfast of Champions. Numerous accolades every year are given to the students who excel academically or athletically. While those are amazing achievements, this award ceremony really pinpoints those who, through their character, help the school grow as a whole. It was a genuine reminder that their kind acts are not only noticed, but applauded.”
Yet another student had this to say: “Being a part of the Breakfast of Champions was an amazing experience. Most kids have received awards for their test scores or how well they play sports but for the longest time the kids with the average grades and athleticism but a huge heart were not recognized. It was an honor to be a part of OBHS’s Breakfast of Champions.”