The tradition of letterman jackets began on the Harvard baseball team in the nineteenth century as students that performed exceptionally well were recognized by wearing a uniform with an “H” embroidered on the back. Styles and times have changed. What was once a thick, knitted pullover has now transitioned to a wool button-down jacket with patches and other customization. But the value held in the concept of lettering transcends fashion trends and university sports programs.
Bestowing a tangible symbol of recognition on Harvard baseball players who performed with excellence was motivating, and the same is true today.
Acknowledging success and good performance in high school students is an encouraging and effective practice. At The Recognition Co we want to help schools and businesses create environments that breed acknowledgment of hard work and accomplishment. For this type of culture to be manifested, gestures of acknowledgement must extend beyond stereotypical sports recognition.
Letter jackets are commonly awarded within major sports programs at a school- such as football, baseball or basketball. It is common for a student to become eligible for a jacket once reaching a varsity status in their sport of choice. However, students of different interests and talents excel in a large variety of competitive avenues.
In recent years, the state of New Jersey took a large step by instituting a law making any group that competes against another school eligible for letters.
Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, who co-sponsored the bill, said in a news release, “Varsity letters signify sacrifice and accomplishment. They should not be limited to athletes in traditional sports. Awarding a varsity letter to everyone who distinguishes themselves and their high school in interscholastic competitions is only fair… It is time to include other competitive activities that require the same level of commitment, dedication, teamwork, and school pride.”
What Can Letter Jackets Do For Your Program?
We have to agree that hard work should be acknowledged for all students. Such encouragement develops character and an environment of motivation. that could lead to a shift in overall culture in your school.
This is important for leadership of a school to consider. Whether you are an athletic director, principle, club sponsor or dedicated teacher- small gestures like these can have a large impact on your student body.
Diversifying acknowledgement builds up a new group of students, but also creates unity by communicating to students of different interests and social groups that talent and excellent work are valuable in a variety of fields. Not just a selected few.
A student body’s perspective and atmosphere can be driven from the top. If you are a leader at a school, consider implementing new processes for rewarding students across the board as a mechanism for increasing the school’s overall health.
“A varsity letter is a source of pride, earned through tireless effort, fierce determination, and unwavering commitment. By opening the opportunity for a letter to more students, schools are strengthened and student outcomes are enhanced. Extracurricular activities are an integral part of education. The benefits of competing with schoolmates against peers from other schools – on the playing field or in the auditorium – cannot be overstated.” -Assemblyman Parker Space of New Jersey
The Recognition Co makes it seamless to institute the letterman jacket process at your school. We provide the catalogs, take the orders, and keep all order records for your students to make it as easy as possible on your school staff. You can browse letter jacket styles and ask for more information at therecognitionco.com, (866) 924-2778 or email@example.com