Awards & Recognition

Our staff strongly advocates positive reinforcement and encouragement as the most powerful tools available to us in bringing about appropriate behaviors in our students.  The following awards are given for academic performance, attendance and school citizenship. 


Academic Letter

The Academic Letter Award represents students doing varsity level academic work in the classroom. 

The criteria students must meet to earn the award are explained below:

  • Students need to earn a 3.33 (B+) or higher grade point average for two consecutive terms.
  • Freshman who earn the 3.33 both terms of their ninth grade year can earn chenille numbers of their graduating year.  (For example, the class of 2024 earn a "24" numerals.)  Graduating year numbers are only earned the freshman year.
  • Sophomores through seniors can receive the chenille letter "K" with word "academic" printed down the side by earning a grade point average of 3.33 for two consecutive terms.
  • Once a student has earned a letter, two additional consecutive terms of 3.33 will be rewarded with a lamp of learning pin to place on the letter.
  • Academic letters are awarded the year after they are earned.  Seniors receive their awards at the Senior Recognition ceremony in April.

Above and Beyond

The official school citizenship award is presented to students who excel in scholarship, attendance, and are involved in activities, and school- community service.  Each term certificates and T-shirts are awarded to students who are selected for the recognition based on recommendations from the Kennedy Staff.  Once a student has been inducted into the Above and Beyond group, good citizenship and school leadership becomes a continual expectation.  Above and Beyond induction is sustained through a student's high school career.

Academic Honors Program

Academic Honors are bestowed on seniors who have chosen to carry a demanding academic course load and achieved academic excellence during their time at Kennedy.  They are awarded special medals to wear at commencement.  Students who choose this path will, in all likelihood, meet state regent requirements for college entrance. 

Requirements for Academic Honors:

  • completion of the equivalent of 15 yearlong courses in the core subject areas of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and world languages
  • a grade point average of a least 3.0 in these subjects

Requirements for Academic Honors with Distinction:

  • completion of four years in language arts, mathematics, and science
  • completion of three years in social studies
  • completion of two years in world language
  • earning total credits equivalent to 24 yearlong courses (6 per term)
  • a grade point average of 3.33 in the five core subjects

Members of the National Honor Society are selected by a faculty committee with the advice and consent of the entire faculty.   Specific membership criteria have been established by the National Honor Society and include the following:

  • Scholarship (a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5)
  • Leadership
  • Service
  • Character

Students are honored in three categories for their grade points during each semester:

  • The Honor Roll of Excellence (3.70+)
  • The Green and Gold Honor Roll (3.40-3.69)
  • The Cougar Mark of Merit (3.0-3.39)

We recognize those students whose GPA for a particular term is at least .35 above their average for the previous term.  We value high grades, but we also want to reward improvement.  Not all students have the ability to earn a high GPA, but nearly everyone can improve. 

Perfect and Excellent Attendance

Each term we mail a special letter to all students who maintain perfect or excellent attendance for the semester.

  • ​Students graduating with a cumulative grade point average of 4.165 or higher earn the distinction of being class valedictorian. 
  • Graduating seniors earning a 4.00 to 4.164 are designated as salutatorians. 
  • Students who graduate with a cumulative grade point average of 3.845-3.999 will graduate with distinction. 
  • All cumulative grade point averages are figured after midterm grades are distributed in the spring term of the year. 

The student with the highest cumulative grade point average in the class delivers the valedictory address at commencement.

All recipients of the awards wear special medallions at graduation ceremonies and receive special recognition at our Senior Recognition Night in April.

Other Academic Awards

Kennedy High School also joins with numerous other organizations in recognizing the achievements of members of the senior class:

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation Awards

The McElroy Trust Scholarships

The Livingston Trust Scholarships

The State of Iowa Scholars Program

The Kennedy PTA Scholarships

The American Bar Association Awards

The Cedar Rapids/ Marion Chamber of Commerce Leadership Awards

The Etienne, Ewoldsen, Novak, Schneekloth, Everett, Richardson, Rotary-West Vocational Scholarships.  The Kennedy Spirit, Citizenship, Service, and Attendance awards.

These and other awards are presented annually at Senior Honors Night in May.

President's Award for Academic Excellence

Seniors with cumulative grade point averages of at least 3.5 and score in the top 25% of either the ACT or ISASP are awarded this honor.

Numerous awards are presented each year by the following:

  • Each of the nineteen interscholastic sports
  • The vocal and instrumental music programs
  • The Thespian Chapter
  • The Marketing Education Program
  • The Newspaper and Yearbook Programs
  • The Students Government Program

What we are about at Kennedy is academics.   We believe all students deserve the very best educational opportunities and the highest academic expectations no matter what their plans after graduation.  More then 85 percent of our graduates enter post-secondary educational programs after high school.   An additional 10 percent enter the military service or go directly into the work force.  Whatever the plans, all Kennedy graduates have the opportunity for a solid educational program  that will propel them toward success in the twenty-first century.  Our goal is to encourage students to keep all doors open for the pursuit of education beyond high school.  We encourage all students to complete the requirements in high school that will insure entrance to college.