Perry Middle School launches Finest of the Flock program

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief
The January Finest of the Flock students include, from left, Cohen Galivan (6), Yodit Okubazgi (6), Tania Lara (7), Andres Zarate (8), Adanna Milbourn (8) and Ben Tolle (7).

Six Perry Middle School students were recognized for “going above and beyond” through the school’s new Finest of the Flock program.

“The program is essentially designed to recognize students who go above and beyond in regards to the Iowa Core’s 21st Century Employability Skills,” said Perry Middle School Associate Principal Quin Pelz.

He added that the Iowa Core established key employability skills that they believe future employers are looking for, including the ability to adapt, communicate and collaborate, leadership, time management, self-motivation as well as perseverance and kindness.

Pelz said Perry Middle School Principal Shaun Kruger put the idea out to him about starting a positive student recognition program. The name was the hardest part, Pelz said, as they put it out to the staff for ideas. Finest of the Flock was chosen as the name of the new program to help differentiate it from the Perry Elementary School’s Bluejay Leaders program.

Two students from each grade level were honored on Friday, Jan. 29 to help launch the program. The January Finest of the Flock students include Cohen Galivan (6), Yodit Okubazgi (6), Ben Tolle (7), Tania Lara (7), Andres Zarate (8) and Adanna Milbourn (8).

Students are nominated for the award by their teachers. At the end of the month, Pelz said they will take that list and narrow it down to two students for each grade level who teachers believe best demonstrate the Iowa Core's employability skills. 

“It is a hard award to win because there are 400 kids in the middle school and over the course of the year, only 54 kids will win the award. It is a pretty prestigious award and that’s why we make a big deal out of it,” Pelz said.

He helped gather donations from Perry businesses to go along with the recognition program. Students will walk away with candy bars from Hy-Vee, coupons from McDonalds and T-shirts donated by the Perry Middle School PTO. The T-shirts were designed and made by Graphics2U. One of the other prizes includes breakfast with Pelz, using funds donated by Fareway.

“We’re excited for it to start, this is the first month for it in January,” Pelz said. “The teachers have been excited, I’ve been excited, Mr. Kruger has been excited. We have six fantastic winners this first month.”

Winners will be announced at the end of each month. Pelz had originally wanted to announce the winners in a small assembly. This month, he put together a video that played during morning announcements to recognize the January Finest of the Flock students. The students then took a group photo and had breakfast with Pelz. 

Pelz is appreciative of the businesses who donated to the new program, as well as the Perry Middle School PTO. He added that anyone interested in donating to the PTO program can contact him at the middle school or reach out to Mindy Baxter, the current PTO president.