The rationale for distributing prizes seems to require:
1) That they be given, in the
presence of all the students, to the truly deserving;
2) That in all the classes the most advanced students in each lesson compete among themselves for the appropriate prize;
3) That with regard to students who have been drilled in every aspect of the lessons, rewards will be given only to those who have excelled in the greatest number of them;
4) That all students will be questioned by the examiners only in those matters that should be taught in our schools.
During the competition, someone should be entrusted to note the sum of the faults committed by each of the contestants in the subjects on which he will have had to prove his ability. Those with the least number of faults will deserve the prize that will be given after all the examinations, beginning with the first. With regard to writing, two or three faults can be overlooked in favor of the one student judged best, and one or two faults for those students who come closest. In case of a tie, the one who has done the best throughout the year deserves to receive the prize.
By the method just proposed for distributing awards to the students, my very dear Brothers, we do not intend to prevent you from following better methods which you can easily find.
Upon the reception of the above observations, our Brothers Directors will have this letter read in the refectory in the presence of all the Brothers, and they will preserve copies in our Houses in order to produce the effect that it should have.
Maréville (where we are on a visit to the community)
10 April 1786