Jefferson Awards - Students in Action

September Jefferson Award Winner:
Thomas Liu-Shao

Look for an expanded Leadership Program site soon. For now, we have posted information about the Jefferson Awards for Public Service at San Mateo High School. You can download this Program Overview (PDF, Word), and the Nomination Form (PDF, Word). 

Jefferson Awards for Public Service
at San Mateo High School

NOMINEE FORMS DUE
Last Friday of the 6-week Grading Period to 
Ms. Cowey
(Use the main office mail box for Ms. Cowey
or hand deliver to room A001)

In May of 2005 we implemented The Jefferson Awards for Public Service Program here at San Mateo High School. Our current goal is to recognize MORE students for the community service completed by students, parents and other stake holders. We hope to do this by creating layers and levels for recognition of service hours.

What are the Jefferson Awards?
In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard founded the American Institute for Public Service, a public foundation, to establish a Nobel Prize for public and community service - The Jefferson Awards.

The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. National award recipients represent a "Who's Who" of outstanding Americans. On the local level, Jefferson Awards recipients are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward.

In 1977 the Jefferson Awards began a Media Partnership through which local newspapers and television stations ran major promotions dramatizing local “Unsung Heroes.” In the first year they began with 12 Media Partners. Today they have 147 Media Partners in 93 communities, including CBS-5 in San Francisco.

What role does San Mateo High School play?
In order to increase exposure on the local level, the Jefferson Awards oversees the STUDENTS IN ACTION initiative in thirteen urban markets in the U.S., San Mateo took a leading role as one of the first of 20 schools to begin implementation in the San Francisco Bay Area. San Mateo essentially works with the local media partners as an influential proponent of public service, as well as an avenue through which members of the San Mateo community – students, teachers, staffulty, and parents – are themselves recognized for public service and presented with Jefferson Awards. A selection committee selects approximately nine students each Spring, and presents all the winners with the prestigious award each at a school-wide Awards Night. San Mateo is in turn recognized by its local media partners, and as a National Leadership School by the organization.

Who coordinates the program at San Mateo High School?
The program is coordinated and overseen by the advisor of the Leadership Class
Senior(s) currently on the team, and one sophomore &/or junior officer -
• Out-going SIA Program Coordinator:          Vida Wadhams & Marie Rossi
• In-coming SIA Program Coordinator:          Michael Picchi & Romy Alberts

Who nominates and selects the Jefferson Award winners?
The bulk of the activity related to the program is the nomination and selection of the recipients. A committee has been created for this purpose. Members of the committee include:

• Student Program Coordinator(s)  - Michael Picchi & Romy Alberts
• Student Recognition Squad Chair(s) - Renaissance Student Rec. Squad
• Representative of the Parent Teacher Organization - PTO President 
• Interact Advisor and Foster City Rotarian - Greg Kuhl
• Special Consultant - Nancy Kane of the Career Center
• Current Leadership Teacher - Ms. Sara Cowey, M.S.

The committee may modify the nomination and selection process. All of the recipients will be honored at the Spring Jefferson Awards Night where they will receive the official Jefferson Award Certificates of Excellence and lapel-pin replicas of the national seal. Profiles of award-winners are also highlighted in the parent bulletin and in the School Newspaper.

*As winners are selected, their names are forwarded to our contact at CBS-5 for regional and national consideration. San Mateo High shall communicate whenever necessary with its media partners and Regional Director for the Jefferson Awards, Freda Statom.

How do the Jefferson Awards tie into the Leadership programs, ASB and Renaissance mission at San Mateo?

As it does on the national level, the award serves not only to recognize a select group of “unsung heroes”, but also to advocate public service and inspire everyone in the San Mateo High School family to get involved. The message goes hand in hand with the strong culture of community service that is being cultivated at San Mateo through its unequaled community service projects like the award-winning Canned Food Drive, and this years Pink Out, Cancer Awareness Night, and other community service projects. More specifically, the program encourages the development of “Leadership” and “Global Awareness”.

How does San Mateo benefit from a partnership with the Jefferson Awards?

  • Currently nine students will be selected annually as official winners of the Jefferson Award 
  • Partnership with the organization strengthens the growing culture of community service learning at San Mateo High
  • San Mateo High School is publicly recognized as a Leadership School by local media affiliates, most recently we were awarded “Best in the Bay Area” (2017)
  • San Mateo High School is presented with a large “Gold Level” National Leadership School banner by the organization.

Other materials and information available in Jefferson Awards file (room A001 and the Career Center)
• Official Jefferson Awards information pamphlet and video.
• Contact information for Bay Area Regional Director, Freda Statom.

If you have any questions or comments, please see Ms. Cowey or Ms. Kane.