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Can kindness beat ‘hotness’ at an Issaquah High School?

Photos from a Facebook page behind an off campus, online competition to determine who the hottest girls are at Issaquah High School. School administrators can't shut the contest down because it was not created with a school computer, and the anonymous people behind it aren't breaking any laws. (Facebook photo)

Issaquah High School is not the only one that’s pitted girls against each other in an online contest to determine who’s the hottest in the class of 2013.

Juanita High in Kirkland had a similar “May Madness” tournament going, and at other schools around the region these kinds of match ups happen all the time, informally, through social media.

The contest is a version of the March Madness college basketball tournament where teams are placed in brackets and they keep playing each other until there is one grand champion. That kind of contest takes skill.

No skill, only style and popularity are needed to advance in the high school brackets. Girls are nominated and continue to move up based on student votes.

I’ve been out of high school for awhile now, but the only difference between what’s happening at Issaquah and what happened back in the day is that this contest is online.

In every high school in America – attractive, well-dressed, popular students get more attention than others.

Could the online “hotness” competition be damaging to some students’ self esteem? Yes. Is it illegal? No.

Issaquah High administrators have been trying to track down the individuals responsible for the contest, with no luck. They do know the hot list was not created with a school computer.

“These are pretty smart folks behind this,” Sara Niegowski, spokeswoman for the Issaquah School District, told KING 5. “They know their First Amendment rights. They’re very quiet about who it is and the group behind it.”

Perhaps kindness will defeat hotness. Some student leaders at Issaquah High are creating brackets of their own nominating kids based on their character and community service instead of their looks.

Other schools have compliment pages on Facebook based on building students up, rather than pitting them against each other.

Here are a few examples of kind comments posted through Facebook on student group pages (I am not including their full names):

Dear Jenna, You’re an amazing girl and you only have a couple more weeks of high school left. Keep your head up. You’re never alone and you’re cherished and loved!

Sophie is honestly the most gorgeous girl I have ever met and is one of the nicest people I know. Providing our friendship with trust and good deed, Sophie succeeds to share her honest luck and genuine emotion with me. That is something special. This girl is truly amazing and is an honor to have as a friend.

Shout out to Matt for literally being the kindest person I know! Not to mention great at everything he does!

By LINDA THOMAS

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