Wednesday, May 22, 2019


I’m having mixed feelings about senior awards assemblies this morning. Someone posted this yesterday and it resonates with me.

I attended my daughter’s Senior Awards Night last night. There was plenty to celebrate. And yet I feel uneasy about what we say to the students who are uncelebrated. If this is somehow a night for everyone, how do we acknowledge the contributions of the unsung and unnoticed?

I’m not saying that everyone should get a prize. I do think that many students are fighting battles that we know nothing about: mental health, sexual identity, dysfunctional home lives, to mention a few. Many hold the community together simply by being themselves: kind, funny, accepting. How do we create a high school community where those students can feel that they have been known and loved  and honored? Where they can celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of peers because  they know that they themselves have been valued throughout their high school years?

Some students and families live for those awards nights. Many sacrifices have been made to get to that moment. I do not discount that. But I think we do everyone a disservice if we impart they impression that life is all about who wins the prizes. A life where one must always be better than someone else to be happy will be fueled by endless competition, more coffee, more Red Bull, less sleep, more alcohol, more sacrificing of relationships in order to get ahead.

Surely we can give our young people a better prize than that.

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