Sherman High School has a new way to celebrate and reward its students for their achievements in good character and citizenship. The school rolled out its new Bearcat Patrol campaign Monday evening when administrators ambushed four students at their homes for showing behavior that exceeded expectations while at school.

“Our simple goal is to tell these kids we see you, and we see what you are doing,” SHS Vice Principal Robert Goff said.

For the first wave of recipients, the patrol recognized students who were active in the community, served as role models, and helped those in need, Goff said.

The Bearcat Patrol grew out of another program the school recently adopted. In 2018, the school launched its STRONG program as a way of emphasizing and recognizing outstanding characteristics in students in areas outside of academics. These traits include showing Spirit, Tradition, Organization, Never quitting, and Growth, giving the program its name.

“The Strong Program was a program that was started out if a need,” Goff said.

While emphasis had previously been placed on discouraging negative behavior, administrators wanted to pay also show recognition to the students had gone above and beyond, SHS Principal Jenifer Politi said, adding that it isn’t always about having high scores.

“I don’t believe there was enough celebration of good behavior,” Goff said. “This is a way to embrace the positive behavior rather than focusing on the negative.”

When students were seen going above and beyond, teachers and administrators were able to reward them with a coin symbolizing their achievement. Later in the year, the school rewarded 163 students with a meal at Texas Roadhouse for the school’s Strong-a-palooza. Goff said the school now plans to hold this three times a year.

Following this event, Goff said other businesses and community members wanted to get involved and donated gift cards and other presents to reward the students. District officials decided to single out four students a month for this reward and formed the Bearcat Patrol.

“We have an amazing opportunity to take our celebrations to the front doors of our students,”Politi said.

The first student who was recognized by the patrol was Junior Keyahkjaleigh “Keke” Harvey-Toney, who was called out for assisting a classmate who was having a difficult day and needed to leave the classroom to calm down. Goff said Keke took her textbook and the classwork out into the hallway to help work with the student.

Keke said she had noticed that her classmate had missed several days of school and was likely behind.

“She looked like she was struggling with her work,” she said.

Keke said she was excited to be recognized and encouraged her classmates to follow her leader and go above and beyond.