In honor of AARP's founder and its 50th anniversary being celebrated in 2008, AARP created The Ethel Percy Andrus Legacy Award for Innovation. A $10,000 prize will be awarded to one public secondary school (grades 8 - 12) in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands in recognition of an innovative program or practice currently operating in a school. The winning schools were officially announced on February 7, 2008.
The 50th anniversary celebration also includes the The Ethel Percy Andrus Legacy Awards, a $100,000 prize that will be awarded to a public high school (grades 8 - 12) in cities that have been selected as focal points for AARP's 50th Anniversary celebration. Those cities are Chicago, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Learn more about this $100,000 Legacy award.
Public high school principals in every state, DC, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico were invited submit a brief description of a program or practice that has enhanced student achievement or contributed to an improved environment for the students, the school, or the community served by the school. One public high school from each state will receive a $10,000 award. This awards program has been established as part of AARP's 50th anniversary celebration.
Alabama Central High School, Phenix City
Students raised $47,000 to design and build "Friendship Park," a handicapped- accessible community playground. They are expanding their efforts to build a splash park and are only $ 15,000 short of their fundraising goal.
Alaska East Anchorage High School, Anchorage
Students in Anchorage's largest, most diverse school created three programs for school unity. "Change of Heart" and "Be the Change" pair upperclass students with freshmen and sophomores. In the third, Partners Club, kids with and without disabilities mix through sports and social activities.
Arizona Carl Hayden High School, Phoenix
To help students participate in the National Underwater Robotics Challenge, a robotics club was formed with a university and a foundation. The club encouraged Hispanics and girls to participate in engineering. Many are now in college with scholarships.
Arkansas Northside High School, Fort Smith
Students at risk of dropping out form the core of JAG (Jobs for America's Graduates), a program to involve kids in society. In JAG, they learn life skills, such as cooking and sewing. With those, they make quilts for homeless people, mend clothes for the needy, and provide other community services.
California Ulysses S. Grant Sr. High School, Valley Glen
Parents, students, and teachers at the school created a Serenity Garden. The garden engages students and the community through a butterfly sanctuary, wildlife habitat, learning about horticulture, and gardening opportunities for older residents.
Colorado Rangeview High School, Aurora
Math Café, a relaxed environmnent where cookies and hot drinks are served, offers extra learning time for students to improve their arithmetic skills. It's an opportunity for teachers to reach out to students for whom English is a second language to help them master math concepts.
Connecticut Middletown High School, Middletown
In a community with more than 40 percent minorities, the school launched Link Crew. It helps middle-schools students make the transition to high school. Calling on a diverse group of upperclass students, Link Crew set up mentoring relationships for 400 eighth-graders. Freshman are disciplined at a 47 percent lower rate.
Delaware Seaford Senior High School, Seaford
The Advanced Placement Incentive Program supports minority families to help their children succeed in AP classes. The number of minorities enrolled in AP has grown from one to 55 students. Another group, Seaford Parents for the Education of African American Kids (SPEAK), tutors African-American males.
DC CHOICE Academy Senior High School, Washington, D.C.
Choosing Higher Options for Individualized Centered Education (CHOICE) Academy is an alternative school for students who have been expelled from their base schools. By providing academic support, by coaching improved behavior, and by offering internships, the school is helping students succeed.