A guide to gaining your graduation awards

A student shows off her graduation stole. Illustration by Vivian Le.

by Lauren Nguyen, Staff Writer & Vivian Le, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The ending of high school is one of the events high school students, particularly seniors, look forward to. It is the ending of a chapter in their book of life as well as the beginning of the next.

To earn all the credits needed to graduate and go through each of the four years with passion is already a feat to be proud of. However, many Barons go above and beyond, exceeding the standard requirements. In order to recognize overachieving students, Fountain Valley High School (FVHS) presents a range of stoles, pins, medallions, and cords according to the student’s accomplishments.

“A stole is one of the types of graduation and seniors honor regalia that we award students based on their achievements,” said Clint Walters, one of the many guidance counselors at FVHS.

Ahead is a list of all the different types of awards students are able to earn throughout the years and receive on Seniors’ Honors Night.

1.Scholar with Distinction

The Scholar with Distinction is a gold stole that is awarded to students at Seniors’ Honors Night. In order to earn the stole, students must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.6 or higher in all their “a-g” classes starting from grade 10. They must take three consecutive years of the same world language, four years of math with the last being UC- approved and requiring Algebra 2 as a prerequisite, three years of lab science and one year of a visual or performing art (VPA)/career and technical education (CTE) class. Four of all the classes students decide to take must be year-long Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Lastly, as expected, Barons must not have any Honor Code Violations.

2. Scholar with Honors

Students receive a gold cord for meeting the requirements of the Scholar with Honors award. The requirements of this achievement are as follows: students must pass all “a-g” courses from grades 10-12 with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and must take two consecutive years of the same world language, four years of math with one being Algebra 2, two years of lab science and one year of a VPA/CTE class. Additionally, students must have a clean Honor Code record.

3. Scholar with Expertise

Students are awarded with a silver-white colored cord when they qualify for the Scholar with Expertise award. In order to do so, they must pass all “a-g” courses with a GPA of 2.5 or higher, study one world language for two consecutive years, take three years of math with one being Algebra 2, take two years of lab science and one year of a VPA/CTE class. These students must not have any Honor Code Violations either.

4. Seal of Biliteracy

Students are rewarded with the Seal of Biliteracy award, a teal cord, for completing four years of English with a GPA of 2.0 or higher, meeting the standard for the English portion of the SBAC test in grade 11 and showing proficiency in a world language. That can be done either by completing four years of it with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, passing the language’s AP exam with a three or higher or IB exam with a score of four or higher passing the SAT II exam with a score of 600 or higher.

5. Community Service Award

FVHS bestows students red cords after they complete 160 hours of volunteer work to congratulate them on the contributions they have made to their community and the world. Besides the volunteer work, it is necessary that students also fill out an application, have two recommendations relating to their work, provide one photo of them volunteering, create a presentation reflecting their contributions and have a good standing academically, attendance-wise, and discipline-wise.

7. Coronet Awards

Coronet Awards are notable, FVHS-exclusive awards that must be applied for. There are not any true specifications for receiving this award besides an application. However, it is suggested that students select subjects in which they are strong to be awarded for, as the selection process is quite rigorous.

Students can be awarded for excellence in any one of these 19 categories: Spanish, French, Japanese, Vocal Music, Social Science, Publications, Instrumental Music, Business Education, Language Arts, Consumer and Family Studies, School Service and Leadership, Mathematics, Two- Dimensional Visual Arts, Three-Dimensional Visual Arts, Theater Arts, Performing Units, Science, Girls Athletics and Boys Athletics.

Also offered are the Tri-Finalist Award, the Duo-Finalist Award and the Prix D’Honneur Award. The latter is the most significant award and in order to earn it students must display overall achievement in academic subjects and represent FVHS as a whole. The other two depend on how many times a student is nominated for an award.

Students receive a pin and a certificate for being nominated and a medallion if they win in any categories.

8. Club-specific Awards

Certain organizations and clubs on campus are also authorized to hand out stoles, tassels and other awards. California Scholarship Federation awards members with a golden tassel, LEO club offers a gold stole with the club’s emblem and Girls’ League gives out pink stoles.

To find out exactly which requirements must be met to receive these unique awards, it’s best to ask someone involved in the organization itself.

For additional information about these awards, not including the Community Service Cord, students may refer to the HBUHSD Planning Guide, available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

For additional information about the Community Service Cord, students may refer to this link.