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The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Hall of Fame Award: Impactful, unnoticed

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Photo by Maria Daraselia
The Hall of Fame wall is near the main office.

As the school day begins, students flood in through the front entrance, hurrying to meet their friends, finish homework or make it on time to their first class. Most manage to miss the Hall of Fame winners hanging on the wall by the main office.
The Hall of Fame was started in 1997, dedicated to Pedram Tousi, a student who excelled in both academics and athletics and made commitments to racial, gender, and religious equality within his community. Tousi was killed in a car accident but his name and efforts were never forgotten, as he was the first person inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame award is given to one rising senior each school year: a student who embodies the qualities set by Tousi as well as the general spirit of the school. It is the most esteemed award that one can be given and an honor to anyone who receives it. “We look for characteristics that show a student’s leadership skills, their academic achievement, and their overall well-roundedness,” Assistant Principal Margaret Broe said.

The selection process concludes in May during the school Award Ceremony. “In April, a Google form goes out to all staff. This is the initial nomination form. From those results, each department talks through with each other and nominates two students they feel are deserving of the award. A list is compiled and [students] that appear on the list more than once are selected into the top three. We then organize an advisory meeting in which the three finalists meet with a senior honoree. Then we give the finalists an essay prompt. Their completed essays are sent back out to the staff and they choose the winner,” Broe said.

A common misconception within this process is that the most important quality to get a nomination is the number of extracurriculars. Creating impactful and active changes outweighs the number of clubs a student collects on their resume. The importance is the work that a student does within those extracurriculars. “The bigger picture revolved around the impact that I made through those activities. For me, a big initiative I worked towards was racial and religious equity. I achieved that through working with the Black Student Union to create action items during an increase of discrimination and working with the Muslim Student Association to create one of the first in-school prayer spaces. I co-created the Principal’s Advisory Council to address student concerns within the school. Being involved with those organizations didn’t matter so much as the work that I did in them,” 2024 winner Aneela Shemsu said.

Before the Award Ceremony, a student has to be informed of their win. “It was actually a funny story, I remember I got a pass to come down to the counseling office and all it said on the paper was that it was from the assistant principal. I was a little scared that I had done something wrong so I was pretty nervous the entire morning. When I went down, Ms. Labbe told me and the other students that we had been nominated. I couldn’t really believe it but I was really happy on the inside. I had always passed by the Hall of Fame in the morning and so simply being nominated made me feel empowered,” Shemsu said.

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About the Contributor
Maria Daraselia, managing editor
Junior Maria Daraselia is a managing editor in her third year on the Common Sense Staff. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running, and sleeping. You can find her on IG @maria.daraselia
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