Letter: Academic achievement deserves recognition
Regarding last week’s front-page article, "Honor grads no longer to lead procession at GHS"—what is the school administration thinking?
I’m not talking about the change in the graduation processional order, although that bothers me. I don’t live in Gloucester and my children have already graduated from high school, so the mechanics of Gloucester’s graduation ceremony doesn’t affect me at all.
My problem is principal Tony Beverage’s reasoning behind the change. Could he have actually informed the superintendent that the administration and faculty felt there was an "extravagant degree of reverence toward honor graduates?"
The business of schools is education. The outward display of a job well done is the graduation ceremony. The school system should be proud of their honor students and show them off. And the honor students themselves should be proud of their accomplishment and the hard work it took to achieve that status.
We read newspaper articles and hear television reports about the poor state of education in the United States. We are constantly told schools need to strive to produce high quality students to compete in the global market. Now we read that Gloucester is going to downplay student success. This makes no sense.
We should expect our teachers, faculty and administration to encourage and recognize scholastic excellence. Mediocre students should be encouraged to higher achievement. Changing the graduation procession seems to diminish the honor student’s status to merely mediocre.
Mr. Beverage is further quoted as saying that walking into the ceremony at the head of the line "detract(s) from the accomplishments of our non-honor graduates" and "foster(s) feelings of angst and inferiority." Superintendent Ben Kiser is quoted as saying, "We want to recognize all of our students and their variety of accomplishments." This is already done throughout the year! The most obvious are the Gazette-Journal pages each week honoring the athletic students. Do we worry that special recognition of outstanding athletes will somehow detract from the accomplishments of the honor student? Will it foster feelings of angst and inferiority among the less athletically talented?
Have we become so overly sensitive to other people’s feelings that we must hide our own achievements? And have we become so focused on ourselves that we begrudge others’ pride in their accomplishments?
Schools should focus on lifting all students to the highest levels of education possible and recognizing them for the work involved in achieving that education.