Positive reinforcement is the key to persuading human beings to learn and to engage in behavior that benefits them and those around them. Often, a simple pat on the back works.
For 39 years, students in Tyler County and Paden City schools have benefited from positive reinforcement through the annual Academic Awards Ceremony and reception. It honors students in grades 5-12 who have excelled in the classroom.
During recent years, the program has been sponsored by Peoples Bank. That business devotes a substantial amount of money and the time of several key officials to making the awards ceremonies a success.
Peoples Bank deserves enormous credit for its continuing support of the program. It makes the bank's commitment to improving its communities clear.
But there is much more to the event, and to the commitment to excellence our communities have demonstrated toward education for many years.
Here in Tyler and Wetzel counties, we demand good schools and, for the most part, we get them. Educators in both counties work hard to ensure our young people get good head starts in life.
As evidenced by the turnout of adults for the awards ceremonies, students' families - often including grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles and others in addition to parents - do what they can to encourage the young people.
A community-wide determination that our students will have good schools and will make the most of them shows in various measures of school quality. Our schools are among the best in West Virginia.
Congratulations, then, to the students honored last week. Let's hope they - and we as a community - keep up the good work.