Awards. They come in all shapes and sizes — trophies, medals, plaques and ribbons — and they serve as pieces of material evidence for achievement and success. For the handful of prodigies among our student body, their walls are covered with a plethora of these awards, each one a tribute to a certain accomplishment.
But not all of us are prodigies, and for some, winning awards may be hard to do. For this reason (among others), the practice of giving out paper plate awards has grown in popularity and has become a staple at many sports team’s banquets/award ceremonies.
Paper plate awards are exactly as they sound: awards that are written/drawn on a paper plate. The usual format has the name of the award written somewhere on the plate with a corresponding drawing in the center. Since these are the only real guidelines, the possibilities are endless. Recipients of paper plate awards are typically either praised or roasted by the distributors (usually the team captains), with each plate highlighting a trait or joke that is unique for each person.
People against participation trophies might roll their eyes at the concept of paper plate awards, but the fact is that these awards serve as a chance for team members to bond one last time at the end of the season. It allows people to laugh at themselves and their teammates while at the same time celebrating the unique aspects of each individual in a fun way.
While all paper plate awards are given in good fun, regardless of whether they toast the recipient or roast them, there have been some instances in which a line has been crossed, and it has led to some teams banning the distribution of paper plate awards entirely. “I think most people are sort of disappointed because while they may have gotten out of hand a few years ago, they’re all in good fun and provide good team bonding,” junior cross country runner Mitchell Fanger said.
The cross country team’s paper plate awards were abolished several years ago due to some jokes going too far. While paper plates can be meant to joke with people, it can be easy for people to take the jokes too seriously, so makers of the paper plates try to make sure that they never cross the line.
Paper plate awards are not limited to sports teams; the drama department issues paper plate awards at the end of each show to the cast and crew. “Paper plates is one of my favorite parts of theater by far. You get to know members of the show and funny stories about them,” sophomore cast member Amara Stanislaus said. “Overall, the cast and crew members are brought together and feel closer after… [giving out paper plate awards] is just a fun way to end the show,” she said.
Now that sports and theater have ended for the year, the prodigies get to add on to their large collection of hardware. For everyone else, it’s chance to start a collection of their own, and maybe this time it won’t consist of any lousy participation trophies, but instead something that means much more: a paper plate award.
Front Page Editor