Award: To give or order the giving of something as an official payment, compensation, or prize to someone; a prize or other mark of recognition given in honor of an achievement. From Anglo-Norman French awarder, variant of Old French esguarder “consider, ordain.”

Americans believe strongly that awards motivate people to perform. The College Football All-America Team is an honor given every year to the best college football players at their respective positions. The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the outstanding player. The Lombardi award is awarded annually to the best college football lineman or linebacker.

The College Basketball All-America team is made up of those players voted the best in the country by the sports press. The Naismith Award is given to the country‘s most outstanding college player.

The Cy Young Award is given to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball, one each for the American and National League. The Most Valuable Player Award, commonly known as the MVP, is the oldest individual award.

The Academy Awards, known as the Oscars, are given annually for excellence of cinematic achievements, in more than a dozen categories. The ceremony is televised live in over 100 countries. The Grammy Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists.

Valedictorian is an academic title given to the student delivering the closing statement at a graduation ceremony. Valedictorians are typically the student with the highest academic ranking in their graduating class.

The National Honor Society recognizes high school students demonstrating excellence in the areas of scholarships, leadership, service, and character. The Phi Beta Kappa Society, an academic honor society with 280 chapters, promotes excellence in the liberal arts and sciences at the university level.

American children receive trophies for placing first, second and third in sports competition. In recent years it has become common for all participants to receive some kind recognition for participation alone, including even trophies.

Elementary school students continue to receive stickers or stars on their homework assignments – shiny, glow in the dark, big in size – in order to acknowledge good work.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor in the U.S., awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. The medal is awarded by the President in the name of U.S. Congress.

October 2012. Apple CEO Tim Cook: “Apple is having another incredibly successful year, thanks to all of the hard work by you and your teams. Your focus and dedication to making the best products on earth is what makes Apple such an incredible place. To recognize the efforts that made this amazing year possible, I’m happy to announce that we’re extending the Thanksgiving holiday once again this year. We will shut down with pay on November 19, 20 and 21 so our teams can spend the whole week with their loved ones.”