Shop Online at Emblem Sales
Google +LinkedInPinterestYouTubeInstagramTwitterFacebook

School Award Medal Program for youth

Featured in Youth Support
School Award Medal Program for youth

Youth are often awarded for their scholastic achievements, but The American Legion believes they should also be praised when they demonstrate strong qualities of character and good citizenship. That's why, since 1926, the Legion has recognized such students with its School Award Medal Program.

In 1921, the Department of Pennsylvania created the School Award Medal Program for the purpose of instilling character and helping perpetuate the ideals of Americanism among youth. The award is given to a boy and a girl in the graduating classes of elementary school, junior and senior high school, and college. Those who receive a medal must exemplify six qualities that define character: courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service.

Candidates for the award are voted upon by a school's faculty and members of the candidates graduating class through a secret ballot casting. The local Legion post involved with the school makes the final selection upon receiving recommendation from students and faculty. Each awardee receives a certificate and a medal with the six qualities listed on the face of the medal, as the back bears the Marine Corps motto, "Semper Fidelis" ("always faithful").

The program's success for the past 90-plus years has been prominent. In its first year, 145 students received medals and in 2013, more than 18,000 were awarded medals. And every year the department with the strongest activity in the School Award Medal Program receives the Ralph T. O'Neil Education Trophy, named for The American Legion's 1930 national commander.

Now that the 2014 - 2015 school year is in session, Legion posts are encouraged to visit local schools to promote the program and its awards. Download a brochure on The American Legion School Award Medal Program by clicking here.


More in Youth Support


Michael D. Fiorello

March 12, 2015 - 8:16pm

I won the American Legion Award when I graduated from 8th grade in 1971 from Levering Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA. I still have my certificate but don't have the pin. Does anyone know how I could replace that pin?

Archie Phelps

January 20, 2015 - 4:29pm

Hello everybody. I am 92 years young and received what we simply called 'The American Legion Award' when I graduated elementary school at Mills Home Baptist Orphanage in Thomasville, NC. I gave my medal to my baby house girl friend whom I told inspired me!!! I have tried over the years to find out if a record would go back that far so I might show all my family what I have told them I received. Please post if you know of a source directly that might be able to find about this.

Smokey Gongaware

February 16, 2015 - 3:17pm

I am 74 and looking for the same award. The year was around 1952.

Eliisabeth Voellm Hagans

January 8, 2015 - 7:14pm

I received my award from the Wm D Oxley Post 133 in Philadelphia in May of 1958. I graduated from 8th grade at Disston Elementary School. It was such a great honor for me as well as my family.i am now 70 years old and a 20 year veteran of the U.S. Air Force/Oregon Air National Guard. Although I don't have a certificate, I still cherish my medal and hope that I have made the American Legion proud.

Eric Evers

November 29, 2014 - 5:11pm

I believe my brother or I was awarded this award in Wenatchee Washington in about 1979 thru 1984. Post 10 had a fire since, so the Post Historians records were lost. My mother just found the medal in a nice little A.L medal box with no certificate. Is there a record at the State or National level of all A.L. Medals awarded?

Mr. Hoff

November 29, 2014 - 11:53am

Luigi Angulo graduating class of 1985 of Salipuedes Junior High was awarded this honor for scholastic and citizenship

Sebastian Immonen

August 16, 2014 - 9:28am

I won this award my eighth grade year, and it was such a huge honor that really boosted my self-esteem. I'd like to say thanks to everyone involved in this program.

Los Alamitos CA

May 22, 2014 - 12:00am

My son just received the American Legion award from our local post. His mother, grandparents and I couldn't be more proud of him. My son and I feel very honored to be recognized by such an outstanding organization. Semper Fidelis, words to live by. Thanks again


April 30, 2014 - 7:21pm

I found out this afternoon that I along with six other students were nominated for this award. We will find out at our 8th Grade Graduation who won! I feel amazing!


June 4, 2014 - 11:38pm

Me again! I just won the award! Today was the graduation ceremony! I'd like to thank Post #1983 for this huge honor!

Clarice Kammel

April 25, 2014 - 5:21pm

I am lucky enough to have two legion organizations within my school district. One gives this award to 8th graders and the other to 12th graders. Each year one girl and one boy at each grade receives the award. As a middle school principal, I have always been so proud to have the opportunity to recognize these students in this way. We make it a "big deal" to receive this award and students chosen feel very honored. I am so thankful this is available.

vern p cowden

April 9, 2014 - 11:43am

I got one of these award May 21 1943 from the Dixon Mo. consolidated school. from the American Post Liesmann Robert Post 298. Mind does not look like this one. Mind has a Soldier and Sailor on it.Also FOR GOD & COUNTRY On one side.

ken weber

November 16, 2013 - 10:56pm

I have one that was given to me in 1968. It was just a blur back then but going thru some boxes we found my "coin" and got interested in what it really means and want to find out more about it.

Tim Myers Post 340

October 9, 2013 - 6:07pm

Where is the link to the program brochure? Might make sense to have a link on this page. Just saying.


March 30, 2014 - 5:39pm

Oh, it's there. Might make sense to look at the end of the post. Just saying.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Tell us what you think