Honoring Academic Triumphs: Why Recognition Matters

Honoring Academic Triumphs: Why Recognition Matters

Jun 18, 2024, 5:01 AM
Marjorie A. Maido

Marjorie A. Maido


It is that season again in the Philippines, where the stage transforms into a celebration escape, and parents don their Sunday best as they stand beside their children receiving academic awards.

Amidst the sweltering heat, students beam with pride and joy as their sleepless nights, cramming sessions, and stressful years, finally get the deserved compensation.

Parents’ bragging rights are brimming with congratulatory social media posts celebrating the culmination of hard work and dedication. 

As a parent to two awardees, I joined the Facebook chaos, to acknowledge my children’s scholarly diligence. Especially that, despite being a teacher myself, I have barely contributed to ease them from their academic woes. 

And yet, amidst the celebratory mood, we were reminded of the pesky Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results. Spoiler alert: Filipino students have been placed near the bottom out of 79 participating countries since 2018. So, is there a reason to celebrate honor students in this context? 

Not Just A Bling

Well, recognizing academic triumphs is not just about the bling. It is also about motivation and empowerment, social esteem, emotional support, and identity formation. 

Psychologist B. F. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning suggests that awards and recognition work as positive reinforcement, and encourages desired behavior, which in this case is academic excellence. 

Students whose efforts are acknowledged tend to continue performing well, empowering them to pursue careers where they excel.

This motivation extends to the students’ peers, who upon witnessing the rewards their friends reaped; inspire them to do better next school year. 

In a nutshell, recognition allows an individual to feel that they are valued and respected members of the society. Axel Honneth, a contemporary sociologist and philosopher, extensively wrote about the concept of recognition. He argues that people struggle for recognition as it is fundamental to human development and well-being. 


It is important for individuals to feel valued and motivated. Giving deserving students recognition fosters their self-esteem and social standing among peers and their teachers. 

Moreover, being recognized as an honor student can be seen as a form of emotional support, especially if the recognition comes from educators, family, and friends, who share the student’s joyful milestone. 

Academic awards also contribute to the identity formation of a student by encouraging the development of their intellectual and social capacities. 

Dismal PISA Results

The PISA results should not be taken for granted nonetheless. 

Through the tradition of recognizing academic success, hopefully it will inspire a collective effort to improve educational standards. 

For now, let the students savor their academic success. Kudos to the student awardees!

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