Culture

School Prohibits Students from Wearing National Honor Society Stoles So Others Won’t Feel Left Out

#CheckYourGradePointPrivilege
God forbid we recognize academic achievement and community service.

Students at Plano Senior High School in Texas will not be allowed to wear National Honor Society stoles at their graduation because, apparently, that might make kids who were not in NHS feel left out.

In order to earn membership in the National Honors Society, students must not only maintain a high GPA, but also perform regular community service each semester. (Clearly, two accomplishments too controversial to deserve recognition.)

Now, according to local news source WFAA, students with a 3.6 GPA or higher will be allowed to wear stoles signifying that they earned a high GPA. But one NHS member, Garrett Frederick, said that that’s kind of missing the point.

“I’m not just an honor student — I’m an NHS student,” said Frederick, a graduating senior who has been a member of NHS since his sophomore year. “I worked hard.”

“I put in the hours,” he continued,  referring to the 20 hours of community service he did to maintain his membership.

Frederick’s mom, KellyAnn, told WFAA that she contacted the school on behalf of her son and was told that graduates would not be wearing regalia associated with any club or organization — and that an NHS sponsor told her that school administrators wanted, as WFAA put it, “everyone to feel included in graduation and not single students out.”

But here’s the thing: Some students should be singled out, because they did accomplish more than other students.

#share#Now, of course, the school did state that it would not allow regalia associated with any club or organization. Why should NHS be any different? Well first of all, if it were up to me, I’d say that stoles and cords should be allowed for all kinds of different involvement and achievements.

But in any case, I’d still say that NHS just is kind of different. I was a member myself, so feel free to call me biased . . . but I think it seems pretty obvious that NHS is different from, say, playing sports, where players are consistently rewarded with both recognition and real, tangible hardware celebrating their participation and achievements.

I was an uncoordinated little nerd-kid myself, and I’ll never forget when I finally got a plaque for an academic achievement my senior year and my varsity-athlete little brother said: “That’s cool. Thankfully they give out medals for that so you can actually win something, because God knows it wasn’t going to be for sports.”

#related#Now, it wouldn’t have really been a huge deal either way, but it was nice to finally have something to put next to all of his medals and trophies for hockey and baseball. Yes, those things deserve recognition, too, but between this Texas high school and that other school system seeking to ban naming “valedictorians,” it’s starting to seem like the achievements that schools are most hesitant to recognize are the academic ones.

But perhaps it’s not a bad thing. After all, students who get good grades and involve themselves in volunteer work often grow up to be successful and sometimes even rich — and we all know that there’s nothing more shameful than that.

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