The Greater Dayton School awards.

‘I’ve never seen anything like this’

Teachers, staff and students from The Greater Dayton School walked into the central support office last week and could hardly believe their eyes. Tables were decked out in orange and blue, and awards glistened in the front of the atrium.

“My jaw dropped. It was amazing to see,” founding teacher Alyssa Stang said.

The Connor Group hosted the very first GDS Awards Ceremony at its Central Support Office in February, rewarding and recognizing elite achievements at this game-changing school. Twenty-nine awards were given to teachers, students and parents who are part of this revolutionary educational model.

Founding principal A.J. Stich led the awards ceremony, excited to integrate The Connor Group’s reward and recognition culture at the school.

“I’ve never seen anything like this at a school. It’s really special. We work a lot harder, work a lot longer. This is a really special celebration to kind of step back and reflect on, okay, this is what we’ve done,” AJ said.

The event proved motivational and inspirational for our founding teachers and staff, many who come from previous schools where reward and recognition didn’t exist.

“Kids don’t get these kinds of opportunities. Teachers sometimes don’t even get opportunities like this to feel recognized,” Alyssa said. “Seeing the smiles on their faces makes me want this for them. We want to push (the kids) to get here and be rewarded for things they can accomplish.”

Fellow teacher Telma Butler previously taught in elementary and high schools and agreed this one-of-a-kind event is helping set the Greater Dayton School apart.

“We’ve just never had the resources to do anything like this to show our families that we appreciate them and recognize the kids for all of their hard work and effort they’ve put in so far,” Telma said. “It’s beautiful.”

Those resources come directly from Connor Group associates performing at an elite level. When they contribute to the company’s bottom line, they contribute to Kids & Community. Last year, Connor Group associates generated $16 million to our non-profit endeavors.

One by one, the awards were handed out. Student Moussa received the Character and Integrity award for embodying the school’s “do the right thing” core value, being a role model and treating others the way they would like to be treated.

“It was awesome. I really enjoyed it,” Moussa said. “I got a little nervous walking up, but then I got fearless. It makes me feel happy.”

A.J. and the Greater Dayton School plan to host biannual awards.

“Our teachers care and pour their hearts into their children,” A.J. said. “This replenishes the soul a little bit, and you need these moments.”

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