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 bares the Marine Corps motto, "Semper Fidelis" ("always faithful").

The program's success for the past 90 years has been prominent. In its first year, 145 students received medals and in 2009, more than 30,000 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 2011 - 2012 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.


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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.

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