Monday, December 02, 2013

Leonard's Star Awards - FWISD

These Leonard's Star Award pins showed up late in the school year and were presented by Mr. Roy Johnson, Mr. K.O. Vaughn, and Miss Odell at a school assembly. I found an article in an old school paper that stated these pins required a straight A in Citizenship and no academic grade below a B.  While a spirited teen, I found those citizenship "A's" a little elusive at times.

Leonard's was sold to Tandy in 1967, was expanded a bit, then sold to Dillard's in 1974 and the Leonards signs came down. A person wrote to tell of receiving one of these pins in 1974.

Seniors in our 1961 yearbook mentioned them in their short bios, which would suggest that the pins dated to at least 1958 and a HHS '58 graduate wrote to tell of his first award in 1956. So, at present we know the program ran at least from 1956-1974.

At the end of our senior year 24 students received a gold pin, while about 50 students received a silver pin. By comparison, the 1962 class earned 31 gold pins.

The Leonard’s Star Awards were a kind of additional recognition for those who managed to achieve high academic standing.  The rules for the award were straight forward: for an entire year, No academic grade below a B and No citizenship grade below an A.  In those days the numerical range for a B was 87-92, so an 86 in a course could throw you out for one of the Leonard’s pins.

The awards were designed to function something like the Olympic medals; a Bronze for the first year’s achievement, a Silver for the second, and finally a Gold for the third year. In practice, this program was more like an endurance run in that it set a specific floor for the minimum grades and provided no allowance for any short-term variations in an individual’s grades.

In those days, each teacher submitted a separate citizenship grade for each class, each 6-weeks marking period, and if you had a bit of a clash going with a teacher or two, they could also knock you out of the run for a Leonard’s pin.

Although it is of no consequence now, it is interesting to note a few things about this listing of recipients that were not obvious at the time.  About 26% of this 1963 class graduated with honors; however, slightly less than half of the honors graduates, or about 12% got one of the 1963 Leonard’s Star award pins.

About 8% of the class earned a gold pin.  As you would expect, those with the highest honors earned the most pins; however, there were some who missed the minimum requirements for one of the pins who were among our sharpest classmates.

Another interesting thing is that about 75% of both the pins and the graduation honors went to female graduates.  Only 23 of the 80 honors graduates were boys.  No wonder the womens' rights movement took off shortly after we graduated!

Any idea when Leonard's started the program with the FWISD?

The picture at right is a pin that was awarded to my father who graduated from a Dallas high school just before WWII. It was called the Linz Award, named for the long established Dallas Jeweler and has the initials, "DHS" for Dallas High Schools, in the center. It was given to all Dallas High School students who achieved a 90 average or higher and was established sometime after 1924.

Two years later he was in the nose of a B-17 bound for Berlin on one of the first daylight missions flown by the USAAF to that destination.


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