Alexander High School continued a 30-year-old tradition of recognizing academic success recently when it announced this year's Academic Top 10.

The award recognizes students with the top 10 numerical grade point averages in each grade level for the previous school year. This year, the academic Top 10 students were announced on Sept. 14 for the senior, junior and sophomore classes. Overall, 30 students were recognized -- the Top 10 in each of the three grades -- out of roughly 2,000 students at Alexander.

To be in the top 10 of their class and receive the recognition this year, sophomores needed at least a 98.125 grade point average, juniors needed at least a 97.6875 average and seniors needed at least a 98.125. Current freshmen are not recognized since the recognition is based on the previous year's academic performance.

"At Alexander High, our vision is for students to belong, have fun and learn," said Assistant Principal Stephen Beatty, the administrator at AHS in charge of curriculum, instruction and career and technical education. "One of our many programs to achieve this vision is to celebrate student achievement through our Academic Top 10 recognition program. This is one of our most prestigious academic recognitions as it celebrates the students with the top 10 numeric course averages in their respective class. The presentation occurs during the students' class with administrators and teachers. It is an honor and privilege to recognize these passionate, hardworking students in front of their peers."

In an effort to recognize even more students this year, the decision was made to award honorable mentions to students who had a 97.5 or higher average GPA, but who were not within the top 10 of their class.

The 30 students who earned a spot in the Top 10 this year received a special medal, a pizza party and a Top 10 T-shirt. Alexander also has a Top 10 wall where 8-by-10 inch pictures and engraved nameplates of each of the 30 students are showcased by grade level for everyone at the school to see.

Valli Robinson is the AP Coordinator, Liberal Arts College Preparatory and AP Capstone Magnet Coordinator and Media Specialist at Alexander.

Robinson graduated from AHS in 1991 and made the Top 10 all four years. She said she believes the Top 10 recognition started the year the school opened in 1986.

Robinson said longtime Douglas County educator George Hale started the Top 10. Hale was one of many teachers and administrators who transferred from Fairplay Middle School to Alexander when AHS opened for the 1986-1987 school year.

"He was always big in recognizing academics," Robinson said of Hale, who died in 2013.

Initially, the Top 10 was called the "Top Forty" with freshman being recognized as well 30 years ago. Back then, students received a letter and a certificate, according to an article from the March 2, 1990 edition of the school newspaper, "The Prowler."

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