When you think of middle-schoolers, you might not think of the military. But at Swan Valley Middle School they've implemented something special. It’s called the Viking Valor.
"We took the Medal of Honor program and turned it into our mascot," said Sandy Kreager.
Kreager is the school counselor at Swan Valley Middle School in Thomas Township. She says the school’s Viking Valor award corresponds with the Medal of Honor, and that it aims to shine light on positive attributes of students. The focus is on six core values including: Courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment.
"It's military people who are regular everyday people, and they teach us six core values that we want to live by. And so that's what we teach our kids, we teach them what we want them to do, not what we don't want them to do,” said Kreager.
She tells TV5 since the program was implemented bullying among the students has decreased.
"Words are very powerful and so we decided not to go with an anti-bullying program because it brings attention to bullying. What we decided to do was to go with the Medal of Honor, and what I love about it is it's real life and it's not fluff-fluff,” said Kreager.
Kreager says just like the Medal of Honor, recipients must be nominated by their comrades, so it's up to the students to nominate each other. While at school they simply grab a slip, fill it out anonymously, and drop it into the Viking Valor drop-box
This includes students like Kyle Durussel who went above and beyond for his 7th grade classmates.
"I wanted them to get good grades and just be able to succeed," said Durussel.
He was awarded the Viking Valor honor at a school assembly and says he was just doing what he thinks is right
"Everybody should feel and be treated the same way. That way, they're all, I don't know, that way they're all equal in a way," said Durussel.