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Sep 23, 2012 - By Steven R. Peck

Student of the Week is back in the paper for its 30th year

The best thing about our newspaper's weekly Student of the Week program is that is isn't only about the star quarterback, the valedictorian and the all-state musician.

Those three -- all deserving -- are bound to be recognized during the 30-plus weeks of the campaign, but that leaves more than two dozen more spaces to fill as Student of the Week marches toward May.

The 2012-13 edition of Student of the Week began last Sunday. We're beginning our third decade of the program in the newspaper, which makes it one of the most enduring features we publish, right up there with "Dear Abby" and "Garfield."

But Student of the Week is better. It is about our kids, our schools, our communities. It is about us.

And just as we are more than the most conspicuous among us, so is Student of the Week. One Sunday you might see the student body president or the top scorer on the basketball team, but the next week it might very well be the History Day champ, the academic letter winner, or the top biology student.

Better yet, the following week it might be the girl who raised her grade from a D to a B, or the kid who found a way to keep coming to school even though his leg was in a cast and he had permission to study at home, or the guy or girl who found time to help out with an after school program, or the student who was known simply for treating other people well.

These, for the most part, are the kids who will lead us, week by week, through our 31st year of Student of the Week, toward our 31st Student of the Year ceremonies nine months from now.

There is a scholarship that goes along with Student of the Year recognition in the spring. It's a nice honor, and this year we'd like to find out where some of those previous 200-plus Students of the Year are today. Most of them are in their 30s or older now. The first ones are nearing age 50.

We'll plan a special edition for the spring on Students of the Year from the past. That ought to be fun and informative. We might ask readers for some assistance in locating some of those honorees. A lot of spreading out can happen in 30 years.

In the meantime, please take notice of Student of the Week today and every Sunday during the school year. It represents the wide diversity of our student population and, by extension, of our community as well.

And one more thing. It's a cliche to talk about "doing it for the kids," or "supporting our children," two things virtually everybody professes to do. But on the back page of this section you'll find 17 local businesses who do more than say it. They are the weekly sponsors of Student of the Week, and it is their money that will help fund the scholarships at the end of the school year.

Please notice them as well. They do more than just talk. Their dollars are where their mouths are. We appreciate it, and we urge you to support local businesses that support the local newspaper ... and the kids.

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