Thomas Gates Awards In 1994, Mr. Thomas R. Gates III introduced the Gates Awards Program to the Junior High students in Santa Fe ISD. He wanted to provide a motivational reward for students who are hard working, cooperative, and show improvement in grades and behavior during the school year. Grades were not to be the most important factor in recognizing these students, although students has to pass each class to be nominated. Mr. Gates wanted to reach the average student in school who did what was excepted each day, but received no recognition, commendations or praise for good, hard effort. Today, the program gives every Grapeland Junior High student an opportunity to receive one of the sixty monetary awards presented each year. Gates Awards nominees are screened by teachers and other staff for good discipline, attendance, respect for others, and maintenance of passing grades. Monetary awards simulate a pay 'bonus' for those who do a good job each day, reinforcing similar characteristics of those rewarded in the world of work. Each grading period teachers nominate students whom they know qualify for the Gates Award. Then the students names are submitted to administrators who ascertain that the nominated individuals meet all the attendance and discipline criteria. In spite of his busy work schedule, Mr. Gates tries to be present in person to hand out the awards each grading period at an assembly for all students by grade level. The Gates Award provides a unique incentive for Grapeland Junior High School students, and teachers report that the Award gives students an opportunity to demonstrate that the old fashion concept of hard work is still important. As our students make the transition from childhood to young adulthood, this program sends an important message about the world of work and their ability to set goals for themselves. The Grapeland Junior High school students and staff are grateful to Mr. Gates for developing this program. The Grapeland community is very fortunate to have Mr. Gates bring this program to our students.