Sacred Heart Cathedral School celebrated a few special honors for students at the end of morning Mass on May 22, and Minnesota Vikings safety and SHCS alum Harrison Smith was on hand to present the scholarship award named after him.
“This time of year we celebrate a lot of wonderful accomplishments,” said Sacred Heart Principal Sarah Trent.
Seventh-grader Callie Grace Tucker received the third annual Harrison Smith Scholarship. Criteria for the award are that the student must have high academic achievement, show service to school and community, demonstrate strong leadership, demonstrate outstanding character and compassion for others, and be involved in extracurricular activities.
“This year’s award recipient is known because she volunteers in class, she’s a great helper, she’s a good all-around sport and jumps in at 100 percent whenever she needs to, she has a great attitude, she’s polite to all students and teachers, she’s dedicated and has good character,” said Father David Boettner, the cathedral rector, who presided at Mass.
In introducing the scholarship presentation, Sacred Heart admissions and development director Joni Punch talked about its namesake.
“Harrison has never forgotten where he came from,” she said. “Today he continues to support his very first school. He quietly slips in, spends time with our kids, and slips out, never drawing any attention to himself or asking for any fanfare. He gives quietly, and he gives often, to our kids. Boys and girls, that’s character.
“Harrison, thank you for being a role model all of these kids can look up to, especially in a day and age when it’s hard to find role models who have strong faith and firm values.”
Mr. Smith said “it’s an honor” to have the scholarship in his name.
“It’s obviously not for me, it’s for Callie and it’s for the kids who receive it, just to be recognized for their commitment to being a student, just being an all-around good person, and then doing extracurricular activities as well. It’s a tribute to Callie for what she’s done,” he said.
Mr. Smith seemed humbled by the chance to give back to his alma mater.
“I just like to be around and interact with the kids and see if I can help them. Any way I can be around, I try to be if I can,” he said.
He gave an outlook for the Vikings in the 2015 season.
“Hopefully we’ll be on the winning side this year and make a playoff run, and we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Last fall Sacred Heart held a Medal of Honor Convention, and two medal recipients visited the school. Each left behind a Challenge Coin to be presented to a student meeting special criteria.
“One of the most important gestures that a Medal of Honor recipient can give is their challenge coin,” said Joe Thompson, co-chair of the Medal of Honor Convention. “As insignificant as it looks, a little 1 3/4- or 2-inch piece of brass, I can tell you from experience that the Medal of Honor recipients only give those coins out to people they respect.
“You think, these are the individuals who have received our nation’s highest award for valor and service and sacrifice, and here they are – a little 2-inch piece of brass, that is their way of saying we honor you, and that is a great and a profound achievement.”
There are six character traits for Medal of Honor coin recipients: courage, integrity, sacrifice, commitment, citizenship, patriotism
Receiving the SSgt. Leroy A. Petry Challenge Coin was eighth-grader Sean Halstead, and receiving the Specialist Ty M. Carter Challenge Coin was fifth-grader Kai Ringle.