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When you think of celebration, what comes to mind? Balloons, streamers, music, maybe a party hat or two. When the Boosterthon team talks about what it means to “celebrate” someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean throwing a birthday party; it means when you see someone who’s accomplished a goal or done well, take that person’s excitement up a notch by telling them how well they did or pointing out their strengths.

All too often students may get jealous of someone’s achievements, but we are challenging them to celebrate their peers, to acknowledge the strength inside everyone.

Kathy Ellis and her family visiting the White House.For students to get the best idea of how to celebrate someone, they may need to experience it first. While our team members demonstrate how to celebrate students during our program, we spoke with Felix A. Williams PTA representative, Cathy Ellis, a mother of three in Stuart, FL, who’s had 16 years and counting of celebrating her children to see how she does it.

Cathy first said that celebrating her children’s accomplishments looks different depending on age. “Celebrating evolves over time,” she said. “ When my kids were little, if they got good grades, we’d give them $5 to go pick something out at the dollar store. As they got a little older, it might be get a smoothie, or to a restaurant we’ve never been to.”

She also said that with three kids and a very busy family schedule, some celebrations might be spending an entire day with a parent doing whatever her child wanted to do. A one-on-one day with all the attention on them and a focus on their achievement.

Cathy also said that as her children grew up, the tangible rewards began to be replaced with intangible things like opportunity and experience. For being one of the best musicians in his band, Cathy’s son got to play “taps” at the city air show in front of a crowd—his talents were celebrated with opportunity. Cathy’s girls also often perform on stage for the dancing gifts, an opportunity earned.

Celebration is also about time. “Time with family ... time with friends ... time to enjoy those relationships and help them to grow.  The tangibles are not the only way to be celebrated; those can vary. Just as long as the time is spent with people who care about each other and want to join the celebration,” Cathy said.

Now that her youngest daughter, a 4th grader, is a little older, “she loves to share her celebrations with friends” as the celebration is made more special with the people she cares about.

When asked how parents could learn how to better celebrate their kids, Cathy said to “rely on friends and invite them to share their ideas with you. You think you know your kids well and they do something to surprise you, so be open to new ideas.”

Maybe you celebrate your student every chance you get, or maybe it’s only reserved for birthdays, but everyone is good at something, and when they shine, lift them up in celebration.

What’s your favorite way of being celebrated? Tell us on Facebook!


The Boosterthon Fun Run is a fundraising company designed for America’s top schools. Since 2001, Boosterthon’s taught millions of students across the nation about the importance of fitness, leadership, and character while helping schools raise needed funds. To inquire how our unique fundraising program can help with your school’s fundraising needs, visit www.boosterthon.com/contact.

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