In 1977, the Galveston Academic Excellence Club created the Top 50 Awards as a way to recognize outstanding students in local schools, both public and private.

Tuesday night, just as it has done for more than 40 years, the club recognized 50 young people who have pursued excellence in academic studies.

The annual awards program honoring Galveston’s “Top 50” is one of Galveston’s finest traditions.

Each year, schools in the community nominate their top students for the honor. Each of the honored students chooses a teacher to honor.

Those Top 50 teachers also were honored Tuesday.

This year, during a ceremony at Levin Hall on the University of Texas Medical Branch campus, the club also awarded $1,500 scholarships to 14 graduating seniors — 12 attending Ball High School, one attending O’Connell College Preparatory School and one attending Odyssey Academy.

The quality of our schools is one of the most important criteria by which residents and potential residents judge our community. Excellence in education will assure our community’s future. The program itself is a uniquely Galveston institution, where the students and teachers being honored bring their families to help celebrate their accomplishments.

The Galveston Academic Excellence Booster Club was founded in 1976 with the mission to act as a strong advocate for academic excellence in both the public and private elementary, middle and high schools of Galveston. The booster club is an all-volunteer service organization that is directed by an administrative board comprised of Galveston residents. The desire to support academic excellence in all Galveston schools is the link that joins the members together.

The booster club supports the Galveston community by providing recognition, tangible rewards and important incentives to students and teachers recognized for outstanding academic achievements. Aside from the Top 50 awards and ceremony, each year the booster club provides more than 600 certificates of achievement to exemplary students.

We tip our hats to the students who were honored.

The community is proud of your achievements.

We also congratulate the teachers who made such a difference in a top student’s life.

The club is made up of volunteers and relies on contributions. If you’d like to be a part of this tradition, you can write a check to the Galveston Academic Excellence Booster Club, P. O. Box 3493, Galveston, TX 77552-3493. Information is available at gaebclub.org.

To the donors and volunteers, we say thank you for supporting such a worthy endeavor.

• Daily News Editorial Board

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