Students from Jordan Baumgartner’s 5th grade class pose with members of the Haines Uglys in the hall at the Haines School. (Sam McPhetres)

Jordan Baumgartner’s 5th grade class presented the Haines Uglys with a citizenship award Friday morning. The Uglys didn’t know it was coming.

Chuck Mitman, Dave Long, and Uglys President Gary Jacobson planned to give a talk about citizenship to Mr Baumgartner’s 5th grade class.

Instead they walked through a hall of cheering students. 5th and 6th graders showered their guests with applause and construction paper confetti from homemade poppers.

“You really caught us off-guard,” laughed Mitman.

The students invented this classrom “parade” to honor the Haines Uglys with a citizenship award.

Uglys President Gary Jacobson was overcome by emotion.

“Just such an honor. We’ve gotten several awards but this one means more than anything we’ve ever gotten because of who it came from. We’re shocked and surprised and humbled all at once,” he said.

Part of 5th grade science curriculum is health. Not just physical health, but mental and social health as well.

Teacher Jordan Baumgartner says one of the standards in the curriculum is “character building.”

“One of the characters we talk about is citizenship,” he said.

“And as part of that we talk about what it means to have integrity, what it means to be a volunteer, and what you can do for your community.”

At the end of the health unit, Mr Baumgartner asked the students if they’d like to recognize anyone from the community for their exemplary citizenship. Instead of one individual, the students selected the Uglys of Haines, a social group committed to kindness and acts of service to the community.

Maddox Roberts presented them with a certificate.

“I just think in any way we can we need to support the Uglys as well, they support us!” he said.

The Uglys are known for their volunteer work. Gifts for Grub is a holiday toy collection event. They support the Haines Cancer Fund through different fundraisers. They’ve also awarded tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships to Haines students and alumni for continued education and vocational school.

Students Roxy Hanson and Sierra Oaks made speeches to thank the Uglys for their work. For Hanson, it was a personal moment. Her uncle was a founding member of the Uglys and passed away last year after a battle with cancer.

“They do the cancer fundraisers every year which has helped so many people in the community get better who can’t afford to pay for chemotherapy,” she said,

“They’re really helpful. They do the fair which is a lot of fun. And they do all these fundraisers for people. If someone in the community is struggling they’re always there to help.”

And Chuck Mitman did get a chance to give his citizenship talk. After the speeches, the group posed for a picture in the hall with a sign the students made. Then, it was back to class.