The Coronet awards: a symbol of honor, pride, and passion

Coronet nominees and winners boast their certificates, medallions and pins at their ceremony. Photo by Yasir Khaleqby Bethany Pham, Staff Writer

Fountain Valley High School (FVHS) has proudly kept the Coronet Awards ceremony tradition since 1967. Since then, it has granted them to the most passionate students for their contributions in an array of subjects. At FVHS, a Coronet is the highest award that a student can receive. The honor’s meaning directly relates to FVHS’s mascot: the baron. 

“Technically, a coronet was a small crown during the ninth century as a symbol of nobility,” said Elizabeth Taireh, a coordinator of the Coronet Awards. “Starting in the fourteenth century, the barons, when they were established as a rank, would wear the coronet as a symbol of authority, which they would achieve through their services to their country or exceptional valor in the field of battle. And so, when you go to graduation, there’s a pin that you wear, the same way a baron would have worn a coronet.”

First, students must apply to receive nominations from teachers. Then, they  narrow down the candidates from finalists to winners. Most Coronet winners are seniors and these awards do not benefit towards college applications. 

“College applications have long gone, and a lot of them have already been accepted to colleges,” Taireh said. “It’s something that you can wear at graduation, which might motivate some [into applying for the award], but it’s really more a source of pride.”

Despite this, many seniors still decide to apply for them.

John Daoud (‘17) explained why Coronets were significant to him, saying, “Most of the attraction of the Coronet Award is the idea that winners are selected by the teachers. So after their four years here, seniors will know they’ve earned that regard from their teachers and I think that that’s a pretty big deal for all of us. I don’t know whether I’ll get a Coronet or not, and quite frankly, it doesn’t really matter as much. I’ll be happy if I get a nomination, but the ceremony itself, regardless of who wins, it’s your friends who are up there, and you’re gonna see them win something, and that’s what really matters.”

Hoang-vi Vu (‘17) was motivated to apply for a Coronet Award since she was a freshman, saying, “I’ve been going to the Coronet Awards for four years now, as a performer in orchestra that plays along with it. Seeing all the achievements of all the students and upperclassmen up there was really inspiring to me, so I really wanted to apply for the longest time. What I hope to earn from an award is not recognition but for me to realize that I’m doing well in class and school. We usually don’t hear about kids and their achievements a lot, and the Coronet Awards allow those exemplary students to be showcased. It’s the cherry on top for your senior year and for your hard work.”

Despite gaining no applicable value, students of FVHS are still motivated to work and receive recognition.

“[Coronets] were created for students with a real passion for that subject,” said Daoud. “It’s not meant for someone to go out and try to earn it just because they can. There’s a reason that, a lot of times, seniors will traditionally win because it’s not meant to be something that goes on your college apps; it’s something that’s meant to demonstrate your passion and commitment to learning rather than for pure achievement. Students who apply for it know that.”