"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Thursday, May 22, 2008

And the winner isn't...

I attended our high school's Academic Awards Night for the 2008 graduating class. My MIL left money to fund a generous scholarship, so we go each year to see who the recipient is.

This year the graduating class consists of 105 students (yes, we are a small town). Of those, 73 students (70%) received awards at the Academic Awards Night. There were 22 scholarships given and the rest were certificates and honors. The ceremonies did not include any sports, music, or other extra-curricular awards; they have their own awards nights. It would have been quicker to honor the students not receiving academic awards.

It has always been my contention that, in the last couple decades, schools have been too generous handing out awards. It comes from this notion that we must build students' self-esteem, and this is done by giving nearly everyone an award, be it financial, certificate, ribbon, plaque, or trophy. Not only does this practice dilute the value of an "award," it results in over-inflation of these children's egos. The real world won't be so kind to most of them, and they'll be headed into some real disappointment when they are not highly praised by a college professor or future employer for what the outside world considers normal expectations.

The other thing that worries me is how 70% of the graduating class can qualify for "academic" honors. Are the schools broadening qualifications for these honors or has the curricula been so dumbed down that even an average student can be found frequently on the "honor roll?" It is highly suspect that 70% of the class are superior academically.

This is not novel to the current class, but an observation over the past few years. Our school system is touted as one of the better ones in the area, but many of the graduates find it extremely difficult once exposed to more rigorous competition in large universities. The students would be better served by reducing awards and raising academic standards. They will learn more from defeat and raising themselves to higher educational standards than they will ever get from a worthless certificate that will be long-forgotten a year after graduation.


Going Like Sixty said...

Agreed. Still sticks in my wife's craw that she took college prep, but her younger sis who took fun classes got to wear gold cords on her graduation gown.

Then there is the matter of grade inflation: Does your school have any students with 4.0 + GPA's? High schools here do! I guess the same goes on in college.

Very Truly Yours,
C Student

Crockhead said...

Hear, hear. But you're going to get into trouble again.

Leighann of Multi-Minding Mom said...

How would you like to be one of the few who didn't get an award?

At some schools there are a lot of awards but it is the same few kids who are called on stage over and over.

Everyone can't be exceptional. I wonder if telling everyone (the majority in this case) is only contributing to the entitlement that this generation seems to have.

Catch Her in the Wry said...

gls: 4.0 is as high as you can go here. And yes I am aware that C students rule the world.

crockhead: Is that room at your shelter still available?

leannthro: Your last sentence expresses my sentiments exactly.

Anonymous said...

My sentiments exactly! And have you noticed now many bloggers, particularly in Ireland, are winning awards? I thought when I started blogging it was a way I could express myself creatively with no thought of "winning" or proving anything other than the fact I like to bullshit and nobody in earshot cares to listen (well almost nobody).

Catch Her in the Wry said...

alice: Awards? What awards? I've never seen any blogger awards. ;-)