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Dori: Issaquah High School to stop recognizing high-achievers

Issaquah High School. (Nicole Jennings/MyNorthwest)

UPDATE: Issaquah families have started an online petition to reinstate honor cords, stoles, and other adornments at Issaquah High School graduation ceremonies.


An Issaquah High School mom tipped me off to this exclusive.

This email went out to parents this week.

At the end of May, Principal McCormick sent out a message to students and families regarding the discussions and decisions around graduation honors and adornments such as the removal of class rank and the addition of honor stoles and cords for achievements related to GPA, participation in clubs and sports, and PTSA’s community service cord. Despite our best efforts to ensure that all students felt honored and recognized at graduation for their various achievements we came to realize that the addition of the various cords and stoles created added feelings of pressure and stress for our students, instead of feelings of celebration and pride.

The graduation committee recently met to discuss the same questions that we asked ourselves when we introduced the various honor cords and stoles. After much discussion and reflection, we believe that we cannot create a system that will allow us to recognize all the incredible achievements our students have accomplished during their high school careers at graduation in a way that is both equitable and manageable. We believe that the focus at the graduation ceremony should be the achievement of all graduating seniors meeting the graduation requirements and celebrating that accomplishment together as a class, not on the individual accomplishments each student made during their journey.

Because of these reasons we have decided that there are more appropriate venues than the graduation ceremony to celebrate individual accomplishments and moving forward cords and stoles will no longer be offered or allowed at the graduation ceremony. Students will still be allowed and encouraged to decorate their caps to celebrate where they are heading following graduation, display their achievements, or express their individuality.

Issaquah High School is not going to rank students by GPA because it puts too much pressure on kids. They’re not going to allow high-achieving kids to have “adornments” on their graduation outfits because it will make them look special, and it might make the other kids — maybe the kids who didn’t work as hard in school — feel bad.

Participation trophy culture leads to lower life expectancy

If you compete in music, sports, or drama, or do community service outside of school, you will no longer get adornment for those things. You see, the kids who sit around playing video games every day might feel bad if their classmates are being recognized for their participation.

It’s just insanity.

Issaquah High School then wrote:

We hope these changes will help us meet our goal of ensuring all students feel recognized and honored for all that they have achieved over their high school career.

But, we’re not going to honor the kids who have achieved the most, because it might make other kids feel bad.

What a pathetic approach. What a pathetic way to lay the groundwork for life.

And long after high school, that’s the message in our political system. We see this all throughout the Democratic debates. It’s in the Green New Deal — we’ll provide a basic income for people unwilling to work. We’ll tax the person who works really hard and give you their money. It might make you feel bad that the hardest workers have more in life than you, so it’s necessary to even the score. Vote for me.

And apparently this is the attitude our high school students are now being taught. We won’t recognize achievement, because it might make the lower-achievers feel bad.

And of course, we can’t have the low-achievers feeling bad.

It’s pathetic.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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