From staff reports
STATE COLLEGE -Students from schools in Juniata and Mifflin counties were recognized for their excellent classroom achievement at the recent Penn State men's and women's basketball games.
The participating students were among the first members of "The Lion's List," a new academic rewards program from the Penn State Athletics, sponsored by the PA529 College Savings Program.
Students from Mifflin and Juniata counties join others on The Lion's List, a new academic rewards program from Penn State Athletics, sponsored by the PA529 College Savings Program.
Students meet the Nitany Lion mascot.
The Lion's List is a group of local elementary and middle school students who are nominated by their schools to be recognized for their record of positive achievements.
To make the list, students must match criteria set by their school, such as consistently displaying positive behavior at school, achieving honor roll status or perfect attendance in a marking period. Students who are nominated to the program receive a complimentary ticket to a Nittany Lions and Lady Lions basketball game, as well as discounted tickets for their guests.
At the game, Lion's List students are given a certificate honoring their achievement, a special announcement over the public address system, and have the opportunity to go down to the court and take a photo with the Nittany Lion mascot.
Parents say the games were a hit with kids of all ages. Dean Wagner, father of two local students on the list, said, "My older son really enjoyed seeing a basketball game in person, and my younger son absolutely loved meeting the Nittany Lion."
Local school administrators are already starting to see the program make a difference in their classrooms.
Michael LaMarca, principal of Indian Valley and Union elementary schools, said, "The students at Indian Valley Elementary/Indian Valley Intermediate and Union Elementary are benefiting from the recognition they receive for perfect attendance and academic excellence through participating in The Lion's List.
"The reward of going to an athletic event and receiving special recognition at the event seems to inspire students and is appreciated by both parents and teachers."
Information about the "Lion's List" games for this marking period is already circulating with students in participating school districts.
For more information on the PA529 College Savings Program, call (800) NITTANY.