Rather than respond to individual comments about Success, I've decided to offer my opinion in a separate posting.
Some of you have defended the National Honor Society and my district's decision to recognize new inductees in a high school assembly. Others question the venue but not the underlying concept of rewarding academic achievement. My students did a fair job of presenting both sides of the argument when expressing their feelings on the matter in our Current Events class.
How do I feel about the NHS?
- Nominees are evaluated on character and leadership as well as grades.
- National Honor Society members perform a number of school and community service activities.
- Inductees gain personal satisfaction from public acknowledgement.
- Scholarship is emphasized and praised.
- Teachers who review the applications for membership may not know enough about students' personal lives to judge them fairly in all categories.
- Grades measure only a particular type of success in school.
- The Society is exclusionary by nature.
- The assembly was more divisive than inspiring.
This last point is the crux of the matter for me. The assembly speakers could have praised new NHS members as academic leaders, then gone on to challenge the rest of the student body to discover their own potential for leadership.
Making good grades the sole criteria for success means that some students feel they have already been labeled as failures. And this might well become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have." -Zig Ziglar
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