Originally published Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 03:08p.m.

Two hundred Heritage Middle School students attended the Northern Arizona Suns game at the Prescott Valley Event Center on Jan. 22. This activity was a part of the school-wide “Cougar Pride” program.

Each quarter the school plans an activity to celebrate the student’s hard work. Activities have ranged from afternoon barbecues to walking to the park and having sundaes.

This quarter students had an extra special treat—a trip to watch our local basketball team!

Students are eligible to be a part of the celebration by meeting one of three criteria: proficiency on the in-house assessment in both math and English, reading 500,000-plus words or being recommended by a teacher for hard work, growth on quarterly assessments or overcoming an obstacle to their learning.

“We like to recognize high achievement on the tests,” stated Principal Julie Bryce. “However, we also feel it is extremely important to celebrate our students who work extremely hard to demonstrate growth or prevailing when learning is difficult.”

Allowing teachers to recommend students helps to balance the scales and motivate students to not only improve but also persevere.

Students are reminded of the criteria for participation throughout the quarter, and teachers assist students with goal setting to help motivate them to succeed.

Watching kids accomplish goals and celebrating success is rewarding to all of the staff members at Heritage Middle School.

Seventh grade student Caden Brewster stated, “I was excited for this Cougar Pride activity. I met my goal and I was excited to get to go to the game because I love basketball! This was a great reward!”

Seeing our students beaming with pride about their accomplishments is the reason we can all have Cougar Pride!

Information provided by the Chino Valley Unified School District.