Graduate of Merit

21st Anniversary Year Notation:
Governor Ralph Northam closed Virginia schools through June 10, 2020, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. The Governor's ordinance did not allow for gatherings of more than ten (10) people. Due to the closure of schools and the size restrictions for meetings through June 10, 2020, the Graduate of Merit banquet was canceled. Graduates of Merit for 2020 received packets containing certificates, medallions and scholarships.

Graduate of Merit
Pittsylvania County Schools is proud to announce the 2021 Graduate of Merit Program. This is the 22nd year of this outstanding program which helps recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments of graduates who exemplify attributes of achievement, proficiency, character and social development demonstrated through commitment to excellence in education.

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The Graduate of Merit program, a great school and community partnership recognizing outstanding young people, received acknowledgement from the Governor of Virginia. The program was the recipient of the 2000 Horizon Award.

Since the inception of the program in 2000, 2,439 students have earned the distinction of graduating as a Graduate of Merit. In 2020, Pittsylvania County Schools awarded Graduate of Merit medallions to 108 students.

Graduates of Merit

YEAR 2000

'00

'01

'02

'03

'04

'05

'06

'07

'08

'09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18  '19  '20 

RECIPIENTS

47

88

131

122

88

114

120

110

140

146

120 118 119 113 110 131 129 138  129 117  108 

Chatham

5

19

26

27

14

28

40

34

37

32

30 27 31 27 26 34 32 31 27  30 21 

Dan River

12

28

36

29

25

21

24

23

28

32 38 20 21 34 33 40 32 37 33  35 26 

Gretna

21

33

32

35

27

35

26

17

36

45 26 27 26 17 20 27 19 18 19  15 19 
Tunstall

9

8

37

31

22

30

30

36

39

37 27 44 41 35 31 30 46 52 50 37 42 

 Background | Applications | Awards/Scholarships | Sponsorships | Banquet | Flyer

Applications

The application (Word | PDF) must be submitted to guidance by:

  • Last day of first semester, senior year

Students must submit their completed application to their high school by the last day of first semester. A completed application includes the application and the community service log. Informational meetings with Graduate of Merit candidates will be held at each high school in January 2020 (guidance will notify students of dates).  Informational meetings with Graduate of Merit candidates will be held at each high school.

To be recognized as a Graduate of Merit, a student must earn a minimum of 170 points from the following categories.

Category

Description

Points

Final Grade Point Average 10 points per year for attaining a 3.0 average or above

1 additional point awarded for each tenth of a point cumulative average above 3.0 after final GPA averages have been calculated

40 points

variable points

Total Courses 5 points per year in which a student takes a full complement of credit-bearing courses 20 points
Coursework 5 points per year in which all courses are passed 20 points

Attendance

View Attendance Rates

5 points per year with 95% or above attendance average

1 additional point per each percent above 95%
(cumulative four-year average)

20 points

5 points

Conduct 5 points each year absent bus suspensions and/or out-of-school suspensions 20 points
Community Service 10 points per 25 hours of service 50 points
Activities 5 points per year in which student participates in four or more activities - curricular and extra-curricular (clubs & sports) sponsored by the school. Participation shall be defined as a member in good standing 20 points

212Awards/Scholarships
Additional awards to be presented as a part of the Graduate of Merit program are various scholarship opportunities. Awards based on Graduate of Merit ranking (final points earned from GOM application) are the Pinnacle Award (the highest ranked GOM), the James E. McDaniel 212 Award (top ranked GOMs - number awarded based on funding secured) and the Community Scholarships. In addition to these awards, students planning to attend Averett University and Liberty University will receive additional funding available only to GOM applicants committing to attend one of these institutions of higher learning. These awards are presented based on availability of secured funds. It is our goal to provide all Graduates of Merit with a scholarship using one of these awards if funding is fully secured.

There are three scholarships available to GOMs that are provided on an application basis. These awards are the Above and Beyond Volunteer Service Scholarship, The Institute for Advanced Learning & Research STEM Award, and the Essel Propack Manufacturing Excellence Scholarships. See applications under FORMS below for requirements. GOMs are encouraged to apply for these additional scholarships. 

Graduate of Merit Winner

Lucas Burnette, from Gretna High, was named the
Pinnacle Award winner of the 21st Annual Graduate of Merit program. 

Graduate of Merit applicants may apply for the Above and Beyond Volunteer Scholarships (ABVS) which recognizes students who volunteer 100 hours or more within one year. Students must meet ABVS criteria for eligible types of volunteer services. Award recipients will receive a certificate of achievement and and gift. The top eight (8) ABVS recipients shall receive a $500 scholarship, two scholarships per high school.

Sponsorships
To continue to make the Graduate of Merit program a success, Pittsylvania County Schools relies on business and community partnerships. Informational letter, sponsorship form and a listing of the candidates will be mailed to past contributors and other area businesses, community organizations and churches at the end of January. The individual student sponsorship fee is $100 per student. Contact Tonda Finney at tonda.finney@pcs.k12.va.us if you would like to receive an informational packet.

Banquet/Event

  • Each recipient will be honored during a public ceremony/banquet. This event is to be held at the end of the final semester and attended by the students, parents, business sponsors and school officials.
  • Permanent notation will be located at the respective schools and businesses.

Forms

If you have questions, wish to receive an informational packet or need additional information, feel free to contact Ms. B. Teresa Petty (Extension 5017) or Ms. Tonda Finney (Extension 5007) at 432-2761, 792-1624 or 630-1817. You may also email Ms. Tonda Finney. Tonda.Finney@pcs.k12.va.us.