Many students in Bedford County are reaching for excellence. They aren’t letting any obstacles get in their way. The proof is in the number of Honor Roll students listed in today’s edition of the “Times-Gazette.”
The students listed have worked hard to make their grades and deserve this recognition. Students on these lists are happy. Their parents are filled with pride. Teachers are relieved to know they are getting through to their students.
Some say grades are not important…that putting too much pressure on students to make high grades is not conducive to their overall mental health. Some critics say that recognizing those who are strong academic achievers is a slap in the face of those who may not be able to make similar grades due to their less than desirable circumstances.
There are movements afoot in several parts of the country to completely eliminate grades. Some want to abolish recognition for valedictorians, salutatorians, and top ten grade classes. I think those who have achieved deserve recognition. Whether we want to admit it or not life in many ways is a competition.
Those who excel become the leaders of our society. And many of those who have excelled have done so by sheer determination and admittedly some have done it without being on any honor roll. I was told by one of my college professors that you can study to learn, or you can study to make grades, but that it is hard to do both. I struggled with that for a while, but once I started teaching college classes I began to understand what he was saying.
One of the classes I am often called to teach as an adjunct professor at Lipscomb University is Intro to Communication, a speech class. Most of my students are freshman and most of them have come from educational backgrounds where their grades were the most important thing for them.
Good grades, especially in high school, mean better possibilities of attending the university or college of their choice. Good grades also mean more scholarship money to attend those schools.
My class is difficult to grade because much of it is subjective based on the speeches of each student. It is hard not to compare levels of performance. I try to take into consideration each speech. But most of my students don’t want to know how they improved. They just want to know their grade.
I look back at my educational career and some of the classes where I struggled the most and the teachers who demanded the most from me are what I remember.
But I also remember what it meant to be recognized for an outstanding performance in class with an assignment or exam. We all want that kind of recognition whether we admit it or not.
So, in a day when individual achievement is often frowned on by many in our society, I say congratulations honor roll students. And for those who don’t find their names on these pages today I say work harder and strive to be the best.
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