Last night, the Melrose High School Class of 2016 had their graduation ceremonies. A few changes were made to the celebration, most notably the lack of a Valedictorian. MHS follows in a line of schools who have made this idiotic change to not honor the student who busted their tail for 4 years to be able to get into the college they want and pursue their dreams. It robs them of the opportunity to be properly honored for their accomplishments.
Not surprisingly this decision did not go over well with MHS students and the community. An anonymous 2016 graduate compared the lack of a valedictorian to, “letting a team work hard to get to the championship all season and then at the final moment say there is no game because all the teams did a great job and deserve to be winners”. Boom. The students who fight for valedictorian compete for admission into the country’s finest collegiate institutions. MHS has put recent students into Harvard, Brown, the University of Chicago, and part of that is the drive to be honored with a speech at graduation.
Take it from a former Valedictorian, Jonathan Hori. After winning the prestigious honor as a 2014 graduate, Hori was admitted to the University of Chicago (Bernie Sanders alma mater), and made a quick note to a potential future goal of being President. Hori says that although he understands that there are reasons against recognizing a Valedictorian, he is very against MHS’s decision. Speaking on the matter, he said, “I think this removes a large incentive for top students to work harder than they otherwise would, ultimately reducing their competitiveness in college applications”. Remember earlier I said fighting for Valedictorian helps the college process? Well Hori agrees and he actually made it to the top of his class. Being a Cross-Country teammate of his for 4 years, I had to listen to him babble about looking good for college applications. Well, it worked out pretty damn well for him. Hori is currently studying Economics and Math with plans to get a Ph.D. in either of them and potentially going into politics after graduate school. All of this drive began at MHS with his endless desire to become the Valedictorian.
In North Carolina, the Wake County school board removed recognizing Valedictorian and Salutatorian because “it leaves some children behind”. What a great lesson to send to kids before they either move off to college by themselves, join the service, or start looking for full-time work. EVERYONE IS A WINNER. During Hori’s senior year at MHS, he took 6 Advanced Placement classes. I took zero. I might not be as smart as him, but I was smart enough to realize I would probably not be the Valedictorian. Somehow, I survived (along with the rest of 2014 class) without feeling offended or left behind.
At last night’s graduation, MHS also made the change to have both males and females wear red robes, compared to girls wearing white in the past. While Hori was perfectly fine with this change, I was not and from what I have heard, many grads and former students disagreed as well. The anonymous 2016 grad that this change “pissed off all of us” because, “every graduation ever is two colors”. Nailed it people, forget decades of tradition, let’s change things because that is what we think people want. If students wanted a change in robe color then they would’ve spoken up about it. From what I have heard, that never happened.
All of this comes months after MHS removed the dreamcatcher from its athletic logo. This too was after many high schools and colleges around the country changed their nicknames/logos due to controversies over whether names are offensive to Native Americans. MHS removed the dreamcatcher so suddenly that it is still on logos of its spring sports teams, five of which made the MIAA state tournament. If you check out the @MHSRedRaiders Twitter account, you will notice recent posts about the boys tennis and lacrosse teams still show the dreamcatcher. So MHS is still displaying the dreamcatcher despite so clearly stating that they took it away. This all despite a recent poll by the Washington Post poll that 90% of Native Americans are not offended by the NFL team name Washington Redskins, which is the most controversial Native American team name in all of sports.
All of these sudden changes seem to be in response to the recent culture of “safe spaces” and making sure that everything you ever say does not offend somebody. While I have not spoken to anyone in the Melrose Public School system I cannot say I know the real reason as to why these changes have been made. But it seems to me the culture of today’s society is what is driving these changes, and that Melrose is backing down so as to not get called out due to lack of “political correctness”. I don’t know who is making these changes, but I hope that these changes are not permanent, because that would be a damn shame.
It baffles me how over 7,000 people have read this yet NOT ONE of you cockwombles have liked the FB page or followed us @stitchedupfm on Twitter. Seriously, we at Stitched Up are over here doing the heavy lifting, passionately tackling the scary stories, putting our lives and reputations on the line, and aggressively producing cutthroat, meticulous works of journalism such as this treasure, and yall can’t even click a button. Today is D-Day, which commemorates the day the Greatest Generation stormed the beaches of Normandy while Hitler sat on his arsch. Take that metaphor whatever way you will.