Let’s All Strive To Be Mediocre!

Several high schools throughout the country are now experimenting with eliminating recognition of students with a high GPA.

In fact, some schools have curtailed the labeling of a Valedictorian or Salutatorian. The rational is that some students feel intimidated by fellow students who are studious, are educationally driven and strive to be accepted at prestigious colleges.

On the other hand, there are some who counter that many of these high GPA scholars do not avail themselves of the more difficult courses and thus their high grades are somewhat inflated.

The solution might be to mandate that certain advanced placement core courses be included in the student’s curriculum before any recognition is provided.

This whole situation smacks of an attitude that wants everyone to feel good about their study habits, and thus discourages some students from achieving educational performance excellence.

We see the same mentality in middle school and Little League sports, where some teams no longer keep score – where everyone gets a trophy, win or lose – and a championship team is not recognized or rewarded.

With that attitude in place we might as well not have a Super Bowl – eliminate the World Series – place the hockey Stanley Cup in a museum – never have a “Most Valuable Player – and of course, give all players a “participation trophy” for just showing up!

Perhaps someone should alert local television station WXYZ Channel 7 in Detroit that their “Best and Brightest” tribute every year, wherein the students with the highest grade point average in each tri-county school are duly noted at the station and invited with family to attend a recognition event.

So let’s quit trying to sooth the feelings of those who are not high achievers and provide instruction and direction to our offspring about doing the best they can, knowing that will be their goal.

It reminds me of a “Seinfeld” episode where George is introducing a student to a board looking to bestow a scholarship. The position was to be based on grades.

George brings the student into the board room and states: “Permit me to introduce Steven Koren with a solid 2.0 average right in the meaty part of the curve. Not showing off – not falling behind.”

That works in a sitcom but not in the real world.

Lamp of Learning

Locally, I want to applaud the Lake Orion School District for a program entitled “Lamp of Learning”, wherein students who have demonstrated exemplary achievement in the classroom are honored each Fall.

Awards are earned based on the work of the entire school year. Students earn pins of bronze, silver or gold based on a GPA of 3.5 or greater.

Sorry Steven Koren – a 2.0 grade point average doesn’t cut it!

In so far as recognition for being the best – I pride myself in usually winning my age group in races, since at my age there are few people who are still competing.

And next year when I turn 75, that age group category will be even emptier.

So yes, I subscribe to students and people being recognized for their achievements. And therefore, let’s abandon all this foolishness about not making everyone feel good about their grades and their sports accomplishments.

It’s a tough world out there and we need a citizenry of strong leaders and people with accomplishments.

Some of you will agree with this philosophy – others will not. And some will have difficulty reconciling their position with the University of Michigan Fight Song line – “the leaders and best.”

For me, I’m getting ready for my next race in November – I may not be the best that day in my age group but my goal is not to be mediocre!

Bill Kalmar

Lake Orion resident


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *