The ‘Many Others’ Have Feelings, Too

Guest 'Rite: District divided seniors by publicizing acceptances to "renowned universities" but not "many others" students were accepted to

It was neither respectful nor responsible for the district to publish the post “Seniors Accepted to Impressive Array of Colleges” April 21.

The post enumerated how many Shaker students were admitted to each Ivy League school; it went on to list a dozen arbitrary “highly selective liberal arts colleges” and “renowned universities” students were admitted to and mention that there were “many others.”

Most Shaker students will attend one of these “many others” and love one of these “many others.” The district has slighted these students. Further, if the district wishes to divide colleges and universities into tiers, as it has here, then it has ranked its students. We have been raised and taught that we are not the sort of community that ranks its students.

Although this same information is available to many through Naviance, presenting it in such a public place seems distasteful. Naviance provides useful information to students, parents, and counselors to aid in college applications. In addition, information on Naviance is not visible to the public; students must have an account and password.

Unlike Naviance, shaker.org is visible to the general public. The information is now available to high school students, members of the community and complete strangers. The post sits at the top of the news section like an advertisement. Plus, by publicizing the number of students admitted to each college, the district is essentially inviting speculation. Who got in? Who didn’t? Why or why not?

We, members of the Class of 2014, are more than a series of statistics meant to beef up our school’s reputation. We come from a class of well more than 300 diverse, hardworking individuals. We come from all manner of economic and racial backgrounds, course levels and interests. We are more than a list of acceptances.

We, members of the Class of 2014, are more than a series of statistics meant to beef up our school’s reputation. . . . We are more than a list of acceptances.”

At what point is a school worthy of reporting students’ admission? For many students, attending an Ivy League institution would be financially impossible even if the student were otherwise qualified. Praising only one tier of applicants diminished the achievements of countless students heading off to state schools with noticeably un-mentioned honors and scholarships, as well as all the prestigious schools that simply didn’t come to mind. Upon seeing the district’s post, some seniors joked that their university of choice was apparently irrelevant to Shaker’s agenda.

This district post represents the bitter end of what has been a grueling college process for all of us. Hearing back from universities yields a range of emotions depending on the outcome: from triumph to devastation, satisfaction to disbelief, it’s been a long road.

During that process, a student’s business becomes everyone else’s. Where was so and so accepted? Who is attending which Ivy League school? It’s an endless game that parents, students and administrators alike have become hopelessly wrapped up in. The district’s article only feeds into the obsession that has driven so many college applicants mad before us, and these tactics will continue to distress the already-anxious class of 2015.

Certainly, we should celebrate the achievements of students, but not in a divisive way. If done carefully and respectfully, it would be appropriate to highlight all of the colleges to which students were accepted, and thus to praise each worthy student.

Without a doubt, these admissions are worthy of praise. But in the end, they’re just acceptances. They’re opportunities. They’re reason for celebration, yes, but it’s what the students decide to do with those acceptances — and the four years of education succeeding them — that should matter. Not so much the name of the school, but instead the way the student decides to apply him or herself once there. That, the district can brag about. Community colleges, state schools and Ivy League institutions alike are all filled with people trying — and succeeding — to better themselves and the world.

We realize the district is trying to pass a levy, but dividing the senior class into have’s and have not’s is unacceptable.”

We realize the district is trying to pass a levy, but dividing the senior class into have’s and have not’s is unacceptable. When the district thinks of its public image before its students, it is no longer serving those students: it is serving itself.

Therefore, we respectfully request that the district change the format of the post to more fairly and accurately reflect the achievement of its graduating seniors. A list of all colleges to which students have been admitted, as the guidance department receives the information, would be appropriate. Preferably in alphabetical order.

Signed,

Bridget Cook, Class of 2014

Anna Hundert, Class of 2014

Shane McKeon, Class of 2014

Ezra Zigmond, Class of 2014

 

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