2018 Student of the Year Finalist

Nathaniel Semanek

 

Bedford County High School
Bedford, PA – Bedford County

Business Partner – Corle Building Systems

“Every single student was offered the same opportunity…work as hard as you can, make great choices and define your future.”

The entire message of The Challenge Program has motivated me to be the absolute best version of myself every single day since its presentation at my school. Quite simply, The Challenge Program has given me an extraordinary opportunity to truly be recognized and rewarded for consistently and continually making great choices. The Challenge Program message particularly inspired me because every single student was offered the same opportunity. The message wasn’t for a certain club, a certain sports team, or a certain type of student. The message was simple, work as hard as you can, make great choices, and define your future. That is a challenge I accepted whole-heartedly without hesitation. I have personally challenged myself to have a positive impact on my family, my administrators and teachers, my peers, and my community every day. I was also motivated by the word “improve.” There really is no such thing as perfect, however, I firmly believe we all should work to improve our weaknesses. Let’s face it, we all have a weakness or two. My baseball coach has a quote that inspires me daily, “Strive for perfection, accept excellence.” The Challenge Program message is simply another version of that excellent statement. At the end of the day, it doesn’t cost a penny to make a great choice, it takes the desire to do what is right. Fortunately, we have all been offered the freedom to make great choices. I am very thankful that The Challenge Program has made an enormous effort to inspire and motivate all students to make great choices every day. Also, I admire the countless efforts to recognize the dedication and devotion of those students who are impacting the future by making phenomenal choices today.

Trouble, turmoil, and even heartache does not discriminate. Writing about personal challenges and struggles is very hard for me. You see, the reason I don’t like to talk about mine is the fact that I don’t want to allow such horrible moments in my life a page in my scrapbook so to speak. I’m seventeen and much like most teenagers my age. I’ve been mocked and ridiculed along the way, I’ve been inappropriately labeled from time to time, and I’ve been excluded from the group throughout the years. With that being said, I have not allowed any of these events to cause any lasting hurt. However, at the beginning of my sophomore year, my family and I faced the worst challenge we had ever encountered. An extremely awful and unnecessary hardship was caused by one individual who had a horrific record of making terrible choices. My father was hit head-on and severely injured by a repeat drunk driver. This man had no license and was over three times the legal limit. The drunk driver crashed into my dad just seconds from our home at 2:45 in the afternoon, the same time my school was preparing to dismiss students. His completely selfish act of disregard and disrespect for any laws caused my family and me to be rocked to our core. I found myself, at the time, very angry and very sad about what had happened. I felt helpless and simply had trouble processing daily life. This inner struggle led me to lose sight of my priorities, especially when it came to school. I had trouble coping with the reality that the irresponsibility of one individual could cause my daily “normal” to be anything but. My family struggled, I struggled. I had to drop out of many of the activities that had always been a part of my life. So many material things that I truly took for granted, became extinct. I remember receiving an email from my guidance counselor during this time. In his message, he encouraged me to continue focusing on everything that I could control. He challenged me to help my family by continuing to do my very best at school and at home. Soon after receiving this email, The Challenge Program visited my school, and by sharing their program, presented me with a similar message of hope. These truly inspiring lessons and challenges were exactly what I needed to hear during this period of my life. I worked even harder at home and in school in order to not let my family down. I approached every day with positivity, purpose, and mental tenacity. This led me to excel throughout my sophomore and junior years, as well as to win The Challenge Program’s Academic Excellence award. To this day, I struggle from time to time with the emotions of my family’s senseless hurt and pain caused by the very poor choice of another. There, sadly, are physical reminders that will be present for the rest of my life. So, I make a conscious decision, every day, to not use the most horrible time in my life as a crutch, but rather as very strong building blocks of my ever-developing character.

The challenge of being the best possible version of myself at home, at school, and in my community has enabled me to be more in tune with my goals. The program has given me a reason to continually evaluate and prioritize my daily tasks, as well as plan for the future. It also has encouraged me to always remain positive even through unfortunate conditions. However, the most profound effect that has resulted from challenging myself, is the confidence I have gained in extending my positivity and desire to make the world a better place to those around me. I have strived not only to challenge myself, but my fellow classmates, which I feel is an important aspect of improving in any way. By carrying out the message of The Challenge Program, I am confidently being a positive role model, I am confidently making the right choice instead of the popular choice, and I am confidently pushing myself to do better every single day.

  • 2019 Competition will OPEN January 14, 2019

  • Senior Awards Ceremonies

    The Challenge Program, Inc. and your Business Partner will attend your school’s pre-set annual Senior Awards Program. Together we will present the graduating Senior Class their awards. We are aware many of these programs take place in the evenings or on weekends. We are available for short, individual presentations to the seniors if that is more convenient for your school.

    Each school will be asked to provide:

    Date, Time, Location for your Senior Awards Program

    Please place TCP as close to the top of your program as possible.

    Please list us in your printed program as follows:

    “The Challenge Program, Inc. Senior Awards with Business Partner (add name of the business supporting your school)

  • Communications/Announcements

    Monthly Communications will be available to announce to your students beginning September 2017. You will be asked to remind students that The Challenge Program is active in their school and the Business Partner who is supporting the Program in their school.

    From September to December, these messages will be rolled out according to the month in which the school has had their assembly.

    From January to May, these messages will be a reminder of each award category as encouragement to keep going and compete.

    Thank you for all your support.

     

  • The Challenge Program works to develop good habits, behaviors, and attitudes in students so they will be better prepared for the challenges, competition, and rewards of the workforce.

    Have you ever heard this from a student? “The same kids always win, so why bother?”
    We have. TCP promotes the academic advancement of all students, regardless of past academic performance, to provide them with an opportunity to redirect themselves and compete. A TCP award is an earned cash incentive award. Students who challenged themselves to exceed their own expectations have the opportunity to become a recipient.

    As a result, we moved away from eligibility being only the top student in each category, to a top percentage of students who meet the individual award’s criteria. This gives more students the motivation to try. The implementation of a lottery system to choose the final recipient conveys to students that anything is possible.

    A lottery system encourages ALL students (grades 10-12) to compete for an award regardless of their previous academic performance. This “wide-net” approach promotes total student participation by motivating students to reach higher and achieve more than they may have believed was possible. Below outlines the procedure for choosing award winners.

      Each award category has a set of criteria
      Finalists are selected from the top 10 % of students who meet the criteria – not just the top 10% in grade.
      Finalists are asked to take a TCP student survey (links will be provided by TCP to the educators).
      Students return a slip with their name and the provided password at the end of the survey to the school’s coordinator.
      These slips are placed in a drawing for the final selection for each award category.

      TCP uses survey results to:
      Attract more Businesses to support more Schools.
      Attract Major Corporate Business Partners who reach more schools with support/workforce development.
      Attract Foundation and Individual donor support.
      Attract more Workforce Development activities.
      All leading to high school career readiness and graduates achieving gainful employment after graduation.

      All 15 Awards MUST be DISTRIBUTED per school (5 awards per 10th, 11th, and 12th grades)
      1 award per category/per grade.
      No duplicates or splitting of awards is permitted.
      All TIES prior to the lottery drawing must be decided via a lottery drawing.
      It is possible for one student to win more than one award.

  • FINALISTS are drawn from students with zero “0” absences. If there are no students in a grade who have zero absences – student/s with the least number of absences in accordance with school policy should become Finalists.

    SENIORS compete from the 1st marking period to the end of the 3rd marking period.

    UNDERCLASSMEN (Juniors and Sophomores) compete from the 1st  marking period to the end of the 4th marking period.

    SURVEYS are requested of all students who are finalists for the award category. If a student is eligible for more than one category, they only need to take the survey once.

    WINNERS should be drawn from a lottery of finalists who complete our online survey. (See “Selecting Award Winners”)

    SENIORS will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the spring prior to graduation.

    UNDERCLASSMEN will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the fall of the new school term.

    Please see the Program and Awards Guide for Full Details.

  • FINALISTS are the #1 ranked student from each included class.       

    AVTS/CTC Schools: You may choose any class involving any type of the involved subjects. It is at each school’s discretion which classes to include.

    High Schools: Classes of all academic levels – introductory to advanced – should be included. It is at each school’s discretion which classes to include.

    SENIORS compete from the 1st marking period to the end of the 3rd marking period.

    UNDERCLASSMEN compete from the 1st  marking period to the end of the 4th marking period.

    SURVEYS are requested of all students who are finalists for the award category. If a student is eligible for more than one category, they only need to take the survey once.

    WINNERS should be drawn from a lottery of finalists who complete our online survey.

    SENIORS will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the spring prior to graduation.

    UNDERCLASSMEN will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the fall of the new school term.

    Please see the Program and Awards Guide for Full Details.

  • FINALISTS are among the students who submitted the top 10%  of hours for the year. TCP Community Service forms are for your convenience. An award must be distributed even if no forms are submitted.

    SENIORS compete from the 1st marking period to the end of the 3rd marking period.

    UNDERCLASSMEN (Juniors and Sophomores) compete from the 1st  marking period to the end of the 4th marking period.

    SURVEYS are requested of all students who are finalists for the award category. If a student is eligible for more than one category, they only need to take the survey once.

    WINNERS should be drawn from a lottery of finalists who complete our online survey. (See “Selecting Award Winners”)

    SENIORS will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the spring prior to graduation.

    UNDERCLASSMEN will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the fall of the new school term.

    Please see the Program and Awards Guide for Full Details.

  • FINALISTS are drawn from among the top 10% with the greatest increase in G.P.A. from year ending to year ending, regardless of beginning grade level.

    SENIORS compete from the 1st marking period to the end of the 3rd marking period.

    UNDERCLASSMEN (Juniors and Sophomores) compete from the 1st  marking period to the end of the 4th marking period.

    SURVEYS are requested of all students who are finalists for the award category. If a student is eligible for more than one category, they only need to take the survey once.

    WINNERS should be drawn from a lottery of finalists who complete our online survey. (See “Selecting Award Winners”)

    SENIORS will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the spring prior to graduation.

    UNDERCLASSMEN will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the fall of the new school term.

    Please see the Program and Awards Guide for Full Details.

  • FINALISTS are drawn from among the top 10% of students with the highest overall G.P.A. from the beginning to the end of the current school year.

    SENIORS compete from the 1st marking period to the end of the 3rd marking period.

    UNDERCLASSMEN (Juniors and Sophomores) compete from the 1st  marking period to the end of the 4th marking period.

    SURVEYS are requested of all students who are finalists for the award category. If a student is eligible for more than one category, they only need to take the survey once.

    WINNERS should be drawn from a lottery of finalists who complete our online survey. (See “Selecting Award Winners”)

    SENIORS will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the spring prior to graduation.

    UNDERCLASSMEN will be awarded their checks during a presentation by TCP and the school business sponsor in the fall of the new school term.

    Please see the Program and Awards Guide for Full Details.

  • 2019 Competition will OPEN January 14, 2019