Two Keystone Oaks students have received awards recognizing their leadership, patriotism, academic achievement and other qualities.
Ninth graders Michael Kvederis and Haley Ribeau each received the American Legion School Medal by Post 490 in Castle Shannon at the end of their eighth-grade year.
The district's faculty, as well as the candidates' classmates, nominate candidates through a secret balloting process, with the school's principal making the final selection.
Keystone Oaks Middle School principal Keith Konyk coordinated the process and believes that the uniqueness of the award lies in the fact that students are chosen by both their teachers and their peers.
"Many students are well regarded among their teachers and many more are popular among their classmates," Konyk said. "However, this award is a true reflection of a student's leadership qualities as well as their commitment to academic success."
As winners, Kvederis and Ribeau each received a certificate and a medal with the six qualities that define character—courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service—listed on the face of the medal. The back of the medal displays the Marine Corps motto, "Semper Fidelis" ("always faithful").
In 1921, the Department of Pennsylvania created the School Award Medal Program for the purpose of instilling character and helping perpetuate the ideals of Americanism among youth.
At Keystone Oaks, which has participated in the program for more than a decade, the award goes annually to eighth graders who best exemplify six qualities.