Page One rewards students beyond academics

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comMay 4, 2013 

Jim Pound has displayed the trophy, a wooden numeral "1," in his home for almost four decades.

Jim Pound, an engineer at TSYS, was in the first class of students to win a Ledger-Enquirer Page One Award. That was in 1976. The ceremony was held in the now-defunct Three Arts Theater on Talbotton Road.

Tuesday night, the 38th annual Ledger-Enquirer Page One Awards will be held in the Bill Heard Theatre in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. Participating will be 200 high school seniors and 18 teachers who have been nominated by their schools as the very best.

"I really didn't know what it was at the time, just that the newspaper was presenting some awards," he said. "Then, nobody would have imagined that it would turn into such a prestigious program."

A Brookstone student and Eagle Scout, Pound won the mathematics category at Page One and said winning affirmed all the hard work he had been doing. He would continue to use his math when he headed to Georgia Tech.

As an adult, he would judge the Page One Awards about 10 times. He thinks highly of the many candidates he's interviewed.

"I got in at the right time," Pound said, laughing. "I don't know if I would make it if I had to get in today."

Besides a chance at a cash award, students gain something else from the competition, Pound said.

"It is good training for the students to see what it is like to be in a competitive interview," he said.

His wife, Brinkley Pound, executive director of the Columbus Area Habitat for Humanity, has also judged the competition.

"To have Page One winner on your resume means a lot, especially if you're applying for a job in this area," she said. "It is a really big deal."

It was a really big deal for Mary House when she won the music category in 2006.

Her twin sister Carole won in mathematics, making the Columbus High graduates the only twins to both win.

"The two categories come right next to each other," Mary House recalled. "We were able to sit on the stage and hold hands.

It was great. I was especially happy for Carole because I know how hard she had worked that year and I was glad she was recognized for that."

She said it made her almost as happy that a close friend finished second to her in the music category. They would go to play together in the Redcoat Marching Band at the University of Georgia.

She began to study music at Georgia but tendonitis forced the bassoonist to go a different direction. She and her sister both left Georgia with degrees in international affairs. Mary House went on to get a master's in computer science at Columbus State University.

Carole House went into the Army and is a lieutenant currently serving in Afghanistan. A heart condition kept Mary House from going in the Army.

She lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., and works for Northrop Grumman, a global aerospace and defense technology company, one of the world's largest defense contractors.

"I can't be in the Army, but I can do a job that will help to keep my sister safe," Mary said.

She was asked why she thinks the Page One Awards are special.

"It is special because the people are not just chosen because of academics but also community service," Mary said. "It is about more than being smart. Judges want to see if you've made a contribution to society. They want to see if you are a person who cares about Columbus. It is about putting others ahead of yourself and what you did with and for others."

This year, students will compete in 13 categories. Those are art, athletics, career and technology, citizenship, drama, English-Literature, foreign language, general scholarship, journalism, mathematics, music, science and social science.

Teachers competing for the Sara Spano Top Teacher Award are judged on educational achievements, public and school service and above average teaching ability.

The 18 nominated were interviewed by a panel of experts, and three finalists were chosen who were then observed in the classroom.

Each Page One winning student gets an acrylic trophy and $1,000 in cash.

The journalism winner gets the Tucker-Wilder Scholarship, $1,500 to be applied toward a college education in journalism. The runner-up in each category gets a plaque and a $300 cash award.

The winning teacher gets a trophy and $1,000 award. Each of the two runners up in the teaching competition gets a plaque and $300 cash award.

Columbus Regional Healthcare system is the presenting sponsor.

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