Begun in 2015, the Student Heroes Award recognizes public school students who voluntarily perform acts of kindness. This year’s recipients range from fourth-grade students to high school seniors.
Organizing a livestock show for kids with special needs, creating and hosting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) literacy camps and webinars, showcasing artwork to raise funds for sensory classroom equipment, publishing a book to encourage perseverance and discipline, and creating “Kindness Projects” that impacted more than 50,000 people are just some of the ways the students selected to receive the State Board of Education’s (SBOE’s) Student Heroes Award helped their classmates and communities this year.
“The Student Heroes Award is always a challenge to award because of all the great stories we receive of those who have made a difference in the lives of their fellow classmates. When I hear of all these acts of kindness, I am so encouraged about the future of Texas and I know we will be in good hands. I commend each and every student who performs acts of kindness towards others. It is an honor to recognize them with this award,” said SBOE Chair Keven Ellis.
The students were presented with a plaque and a medallion during events at their schools. The board approved a resolution in their honor during the general meeting of the SBOE in Austin on June 25, 2021.
District 9: Award recipient Connelly Cowan presented by SBOE member Keven Ellis
Connelly Cowan, a junior at Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant ISD, attended a presentation about a medical mission team that had just returned from Guatemala when she was seven years old. After returning home, she started Connelly’s Classroom. Her goal was to collect school supplies in lieu of birthday presents from her friends, and from donations collected at a local church. Each August, for the last nine years, the donations have been counted, sorted, packed, and donated to Refuge International, a non-profit organization in Longview.