by Lisa Tome
According to Rising Sun Middle School eighth grader, Pierce Raser, his family doesn't stock candy at home.
He gets it at school.
"I like to earn candy. If there is an essay to do for a piece of candy, I would get my work done for a piece of candy," said Raser.
And he is not alone.
"Our students will still work for a Jolly Rancher. Or a sticker. Just for the cute aspect of it," said Dr. Stuart Hutchinson, principal at Rising Sun Middle.
Incentives are part of the education system in Cecil County.
Dr. Hutchinson explained the incentive system and how it works for adolescents. In each of the school's classrooms, there is a reward system. There are various tiers of prizes. Small prizes are a piece of candy. Second tier prizes may include a Rubik's Cube, pencil, or rubber bracelet. Higher level prizes may be a pizza party or ice cream social for a class. There are also quarterly incentives for students who meet criteria for grades and behavior. That could include an outdoors activity day, bowling with pumpkins and more.
"Kids love to go outside for socializing and crafts, he said. There are also character building activities for students who may not be making the grade. One of those mimics a Food Network challenge.
"Those are for classes where the dynamics are off. He said those are a reward when students make a turn around and become respectful and responsible instead of chatting during class or not completing assignments.
"We will saturate one class with positives. Positive rewards go a long way," he said.
But rewards cost money. Rising Sun Middle funds PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) incentives partly through the annual Tiger Trot. The 5K walk/run is in its seventh year. Dr. Hutchinson explained that the Tiger Trot helps pay for the incentives. The school's business partner, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, also helps pay for the rewards. Eighth grader Samantha Smith said she likes the small incentives. "I like getting candy. I get my work done now and I get rewarded," said Smith.
Jim Boyd, a phys. ed. teacher at the school has organized the event since its inception. He said that the goals of the Tiger Trot are to "have fun, raise money, and focus on physical fitness."
This year, the Tiger Trot will be held on Saturday, April 21. Day of race registration begins at 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. start at the middle school.
The route for the race is Pearl Street to Main Street to Ryan Drive to Colonial Way to Biggs Highway and then back to the middle school on Queen Street, Main Street, and Pearl Street. There will be overall winners for both males and females. There are also various age categories for children through senior citizens. Top finishers will collect medals. The race will again be professionally timed by Blue Cheetah Sports Timing.
The Tiger Trot 5K will be held rain or shine. The cost to register for the event is $20 in advance and $25 on Tiger Trot day. T-shirts are available to all who register before Wednesday, April 11. You may register by following the link on the Rising Sun Middle School website. The shirt was designed by eighth grade student Kelly Crouch. Her design was chosen from a slew of entries.
There are typically about 110 participants in Tiger Trot. Last year that number dropped to 80. "You don't have to run it. We want students to participate. We've had students come out for this that normally don't participate," Dr. Hutchinson said.