During the past few weeks, I have attended ceremonies at which young people have been honored for maintaining 4.0 grade point averages, for winning spelling bees and science competitions and generally distinguishing themselves as student leaders.

This is the way it should be, I thought. Excellence is what we should expect from our children, therefore it should not be "news" when our children do as they are supposed to do.

It's only when they start to veer off track, get involved in the bizarre, caught up in drugs and crime, that the alarm should be sounded.

Well, for this holiday season at least, I will change my tune, and shine the spotlight first on the young people who were honored last week by the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Club.

From Clubhouse No. 2: Damon Hawkins, a 16-year-old 11th grader from Gonzaga College High School, is a football and basketball player for the club as well as an assistant coach for the 85-pound football team. He maintains a B average, is a member of the track team, Onyx Club and the Booster Club, and works for WZAG radio station.

Also from Clubhouse No 2: Leslie Germaine Tyson, 16, is an 11th grader at Dunbar High School. She plays flag football and softball for the club and has been a member of the club's championship basketball team for four years. She is a member of the Junior Choir, Cheerleaders Club and the Flag Girl Club.

From Clubhouse No. 4: Arnice Mack, 14, is a ninth grader at Jefferson Junior High, where she maintains a 4.0 average and achieved distinction as an All Academic American Scholar and winner of both the Charlene Drew Jarvis Science Award and the Presidential Academic Awards. She has been a member of the club for five years and spends time as a cashier at the club store and cheerleader coach.

From Clubhouse No. 6: Kevin Gray, 17, is a 12th grader at Coolidge High where he maintains a B average while playing starting safety on the varsity football team and playing for the basketball team.

From the same club is LaPronda India Spann, 17, a senior at Dunbar with a 4.0 average. She is the recipient of the First Annual Chief Maurice T. Turner Jr. Award for Club Leadership. She is a member of her school's honor society, student council, concert choir and Morning News Team. She also tutors at the Holy Redeemer School and volunteers at the So Others Might Eat and Capitol Inn shelters and at the D.C. Village home for senior citizens. At the clubhouse, she serves as tutor, team statistician and Double Dutch coach.

From Clubhouse No. 8, Ezra Edelman, 13, is an A student in the eighth grade at Alice Deal Junior High and plays baseball and basketball for the club.

At Clubhouse No. 9, Javan Steadham, 11, is a sixth grader and B+ student at Wheatley Elementary School. He is captain of the club football team, plays basketball and soccer, and is involved in the club's computer and photography classes.

From Clubhouse No. 11, Rosetta Gardner, 14, is a ninth-grade B student at Hine Junior High School were she participates in the marching band and dance class. At the same club, Benjamin Franklin, 12, is a fifth-grade B student at Martin Luther King Jr. School and active on the pool team, bowling team and the clubhouse arts and crafts program.

At Clubhouse No. 12, Jason Nettles, 12, a sixth grader, participates in the computer club and homework study program. He is a member of the Langdon Elementary School safety patrol and is a lunchroom monitor.

At the same club, Mundi Nettles, 8, is a third grader at Langdon Elementary where she has a 3.5 grade point average, is a school cheerleader and a member of the computer club.

At Clubhouse 14, Chelica Nicole Thompson, 9, is a fourth grader at Weatherless Elementary School, where she has an A average. She is a captain of the club's Karate Competition Team. At school, she is in the student council, the Glee Club, Girl Scouts and Youth Fellowship Choir.

At the same club, Ricardo Waldrop, 10, is a fifth-grade B student at Benning Elementary School. He recently received a gold medal for his performance in the Junior Olympics competition in Columbus, Ohio.

Last but not least, Richard Galiher III, 13, is an eighth grader at Little Flower Catholic School. He plays trombone in the club band and participates in the Notre Dame Alumni Band.

Well, this all sounds just fine. So stay tuned for more "good news," at least until the grinch in me returns.