Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Recognizing a Non-Accomplishment

Tonight, at the neighborhood board of directors meeting (in case you missed it, I'm the president of our neighborhood's board of directors-- figure if someone's gonna spend my money, I should involve myself to ensure that they spend it as frugally and wisely as possible), some of the residents brought up the subject of erecting a banner at each entrance to the subdivision in May congratulating high school graduates by name. This seems to be a big deal to parents, although I'm not sure why.

Graduating is about as much of an accomplishment as eating breakfast. Let's face it, in today's society, a student has to make a pretty concerted effort not to graduate; the system is constructed so that the most mediocre, ill-prepared student can still proudly display a diploma indicating that he or she is suitably prepared to be ejected from high school after twelve (or more) years.

I find our society's exaggerated emphasis on the supposed significance of high school graduation to be quizzical at best. Everyone seems to be aware that the actual process of graduation is in itself insignificant--otherwise, why would they push students to go to college or tech school to get further education? To be sure, some students excel in high school and actually prepare themselves for post-secondary life... but that's a different accomplishment, and it's not the one that the residents want to commemorate with this banner. All they wish to do is list the names of those who have acquired a diploma, as if that actually takes any significant output of energy or display of intellect.

The board voted to approve the expenditure; I think it's a waste of money in recognition of a non-accomplishment, but my opinion did not prevail.

Meanwhile, I am considering asking that we erect a banner congratulating by name all those who managed to eat breakfast...


Anonymous said...

I slept through high school but still graduated, and I didn't learn through osmosis either. Go figure :)
A diploma doesn't mean squat. That's too bad they didn't listen to you.

Sven said...

I have to agree with you that the banner is a bit over the top. I'd be more concerned that there will be parties that serve these kids refreshments that they can't handle.

As for your feelings that High School is such a waste, I find that sad. Cliff you taught for how many years, and you didn't make a difference. I think not, remembering you, I'm sure that you made difference in many of the lives you touched.

I don't feel that you can look at the High school experience and dismiss it, in it's own way it has an impact on our culture. It’s finishing a game level so you can proceed to the next.
Personally, I have one son out of High School and off to college and four more to go. And as each one finishes this milestone in their and my life we move on to the next. As parents we have a vested interest in this process. At least some do.