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Convocation Op-Ed: Do the Cons Outweigh the Pros?

At the end of every semester, we all gather together in the CPAC to see dozens of names projected on the screen and read aloud. The names are grouped by honor roll which is based on students’ grades. The tradition can feel special and rewarding for some students who made the top of the list, but the majority of students don’t feel quite as pleased. If you didn’t make the list that you wished you would make, didn’t make the honor roll at all, or all your friends made a higher list than you, it could feel embarrassing or disappointing. SSSAS already puts so much pressure on academics, but maybe we should start to rethink the awards and celebration system. We could do a ceremony that celebrates all of our students, and all their vast accomplishments. Some may be more accomplished in sports, arts, or drama. Instead of having a strictly academic assembly, we could combine it and have a ceremony that doesn’t define success by just academics. 

I constantly notice the presence of academic stress at our school and have observed the negative impact it has on students’ mental health. In academic environments, success is mostly measured by grades, standardized test scores, and college admissions. While GPAs are an easy way for high schools like ours to measure a student’s progress, they should not be the main focus in measuring success. Instead, we should be examining what students have to offer society as individuals and their general happiness. This practice of rethinking the way we measure success should start early, and reflect the cumulative facets and values of our students and school. 

In an attempt to help students’ mental health, rethink success, and help our students celebrate their accomplishments and their fears, let’s start to rethink our structure of convocation. Maybe we don’t have people stand up when their name is called so that those who didn’t make the honor roll still feel valued and celebrated. Maybe the names aren’t projected, but instead, we celebrate all the academic accomplishments, not based on rank or lists. Maybe we focus the service on inspirational speeches and the praise of all students, rather than the only ones with straight A’s. 

The pros certainly are there. It can be very uplifting and a happy day for many students who feel their efforts and accomplishments seen. Many students may be proud of their friends and peers for their academic achievements. But, there are also countless cons. Let’s try to think of ways to re-invent the service in a way that preserves the positives, but adds new facets that help highlight the success of all students, not just in the academic and grading life. 

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About the Contributor
Grace Hendy, Staff Writer and Layout Editor
Grace is a sophomore at SSSAS and has been at the school since kindergarten. She loves writing about world news and hopes to go into journalism later in life. She loves to paint, play sports, and hang out with friends and family. She is excited for her first year of Journalism!   

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