Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter has earned national recognition by being the only educator inducted into the Jostens Renaissance Hall of Fame on July 17 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter has earned national recognition by being the only educator inducted into the Jostens Renaissance Hall of Fame on July 17 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Carter received the prestigious honor during the 2010 Jostens Renaissance national conference held July 16-18.

"It's still shocking and amazing," Carter told ThisWeek on July 25. "It means a lot for the school and our district as a whole. It's a national platform for us, recognizing what we do for students and staff. While my name is on the plaque, it's about our district as a whole. People know about Gahanna, Ohio, and the Gahanna-Jefferson schools."

The hall-of-fame induction is held annually for up to four educators who successfully have guided their school's Jostens Renaissance program and made a positive impact upon the entire school community.

Gahanna Renaissance adviser Selene Kelley nominated Carter, along with letters of support from several Gahanna students, teachers and Keith Bell, an administrator from the Westerville City Schools.

Carter has coordinated Gahanna Renaissance programs for eight years - three years as assistant principal at Lincoln High School, three years as principal of Middle School East and two years as Lincoln High School's principal.

Renaissance, a program that rewards and recognizes students and staff for academic improvement and excellence, has been at Lincoln since 1997.

Carter and assistant superintendent Mark White led a break-out session at the conference about components of Gahanna's program.

"We talked about what we do to recognize students and staff to make them feel connected to the school," Carter said.

Other school Renaissance programs are looking to Gahanna, according to Carter, asking how to create a graduate profile, how to have a New Year's party in August at the start of school, how to implement student council's Peace Week and Lunch on the Lawn and how to provide student-initiated opportunities to create positive changes at each level.

"This hall-of-fame induction is really about all the students on the Renaissance action teams at middle schools East, South and West, the Renaissance advisers at each middle school and the high school Renaissance action team and advisers," Carter said. "They have seen the vision through their own eyes of what our schools can be if we focus on recognizing and celebrating progress and achievement, in terms of academics, attendance and attitude (behavior)."

In addition to Carter, Gahanna was represented at the conference by Gahanna students.

Junior Tanner Williams said the conference made him proud of Carter and Gahanna's program.

"It was a huge deal when he was inducted with a formal dinner, and a thousand people from Renaissance were there," he said.

Williams said the Renaissance program motivates him academically, and now he uses himself as an example to help other students.

"For me, I didn't used to get good grades," he said. "Since the program, my grades have gone significantly higher."

Junior Anna Woodruff said the conference was amazing.

"I got so much motivation," she said. "It was a huge source of inspiration. They are so passionate about what they do, it's contagious. I was shy, and this program gave me a source of leadership. It gave me a voice. Now I'm out there."

She said it was "awesome" to see Carter inducted.

"I was proud he was our principal," she said. "We got to sit up front and be in the action."

Carter said it was meaningful to have his wife, Samantha, and White as sources of support at the conference.

He learned two weeks before the induction that he was the only person to be inducted into this year's hall of fame.

"I kept saying, 'Wow,'" Carter said. "It made it more special - the reception as a whole, being at the conference and people coming up to say congratulations and good job - this was people from across the nation. It was very meaningful."

Other Gahanna representatives at the conference were students Mollie Chokreff, Sarah Kahler, Anna McCloud, Meaghan McKenna and Beau Snoad, teachers Jessica Anderson, Kalena Falk, Katy Grimm, Selene Kelley and Sherry Owens and parent chaperone Shaun Chokreff.

Induction into the hall of fame is the highest honor that a coordinator could receive from Jostens Renaissance. The nominee must have directed an active Renaissance program for a minimum of five years and have attained a high level of Jostens Renaissance achievement at the local, state or national level.

Carter received a plaque, a medallion and a Jostens Renaissance ring as part of the honor.