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Volunteer High program earns 'Brightest Star' prize

staff report • Nov 18, 2012 at 9:29 AM

CHURCH HILL — Volunteer High School’s recent appreciation program was so good it earned the school a $100 prize.

VHS has been showing appreciation to its school employees through the Employee Appreciation Program sponsored by Utrust.

The program promotes eight appreciation days throughout the year, and VHS was recently recognized as winning the “Brightest Star” competition for its Custodian Appreciation Day.

During Appreciation Day events at all 18 Hawkins County schools, one activity earns the distinction as the “Brightest Star” winner.

As a result, the student group that planned and led the celebration receives the $100 prize to use at future celebrations.

This year the Custodian Day theme at VHS was Toy Story.

Students decorated the school with notes of appreciation in the spirit of Mr. Potato Head, Slinky, Woody and Buzz.

Students also dressed up as Toy Story characters to show their appreciation for the custodians and provided a celebration lunch called the “Pizza Planet Presentation.”

The EAP is focused on sincere expressions of thanks and encouraging students to have “an attitude of gratitude.”

Schools that participate in the program enjoy a better working and learning atmosphere, increased morale among employees and students who have learned to be thankful both in and out of school.

Each school uses an Appreciation Team or A-team, of students who coordinate and lead in appreciation day activities with the goal of involving all students and adults in expressing thanks and honoring the specified employees.

Utrust’s EAP is the only student-led program in the country, and Hawkins County Schools have been recognized three years in a row for having the state’s best Employee Appreciation Program.

Utrust, governed by seven school board members across the state, helps school boards with employment and unemployment issues.

Utrust also promotes the Employee Appreciation Program and sponsors an annual writing contest where students have the opportunity to win prizes for writing about school employees who have made a difference in their lives.

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