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DEAR READERS: A new club at Clearwater High School seeks to recognize and motivate academic achievement. Clearwater Recognizes Exceptional Scholastic Talent, sponsored by Clearwater High's PTSA, is open to students in grades 9-12 who have made the honor roll for at least three grading periods, or made the dean's list once.

CREST members don't have to attend meetings or pay dues or do any work, said parent Marly McMillan. They are rewarded for their good academic achievement.

New members receive an embroidered emblem and a membership card good for incentives such as pizza parties, ice cream socials and discounts from local merchants. New membership cards are issued each grading period and continued membership in the club depends on maintaining honor roll status.

What do students think of the club?

"Even without this, I'm a good student but it's always good to be recognized," said junior Michelle Lynch, during a recent pizza party at the school.

"They have awards for . . . underachievers if they improve," she said, "but if you are always doing good, you don't usually get recognized."

"It's good to be recognized," agreed sophomore Stephanie Hammonds, who hopes to study bookkeeping and accounting at Florida State University.

"My friends think I'm a nerd. They don't see how I make good grades," said senior Tyrone Mason. "I'm not smart (but) I have good study habits. You don't have to be smart if you work hard."

"I was a member of the National Junior Honor Society at Oak Grove (middle school)," said freshman Andy Winkler. "We had parties just like this. It helps with attendance and stuff like that."

"It's special," said sophomore Vanessa Peters.

"It makes you feel important," said freshman Jessica Paulk.

Sounds to me like CREST is a great success. Hats off to the parent/organizers and student members.

_ Pat Scarberry