Whenever a student does outstanding job compaired to the rest of the class, or they've gone beyond their personal ability, I would present them a prize made by myself. They are small, 15-20 min. paintings, with simple compositions and subjects. The young students are happy to win them, and I'm content enough to give them away.
Recently, one of the prizes caught my warm, fuzzy, heart. At completion, the rabbit alone was too dull, even a youth, so I gave the furry guy sensible fashion.
Smart, little, bugger, and dressed for an operetta production of Yeoman of the Guard.
As Will Terrel would say, sneak a story into your artwork for interest.