High School Gets an ‘A’ for Reviving the Honor Roll

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Everyone wants recognition, even if we don’t admit to it. We are
taught that it is polite to be humble and rude to be boastful. Keep
pride in check; don’t toot your own horn (unless you are a bicycle
ice cream vendor); don’t let your head get too big.
Everyone wants recognition, even if we don’t admit to it. We are taught that it is polite to be humble and rude to be boastful. Keep pride in check; don’t toot your own horn (unless you are a bicycle ice cream vendor); don’t let your head get too big.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of yourself. There especially is nothing wrong with letting others know that you are proud of them.

Thursday’s Free Lance featured a huge list of names from San Benito High School’s honor roll – more than 800 students in all. School officials had ceased publicizing the honor roll for a few years back because of concerns over the legality of releasing personal information.

Fortunately, they discovered that the publication of honor rolls did not violate anyone’s rights.

In fact, publicizing the good work of hundreds of students is the right thing to do.

Most of the credit goes to Frank Muro, who made the reinstatement of the honor roll a goal from which he would not relent. The Migrant Program coordinator sent e-mails to faculty and staff; he talked to administrators and school board members; he saw a simple way to recognize and encourage students and he didn’t give up until the goal was met.

“It’s hard to believe that something like the student honor roll has actually become an issue at San Benito High School,” Muro said in a message to staff in February. “But it has and the administrators and school board members who suspended this simple form of recognition for academic achievement deserve a failing grade for common sense.”

Those administrators and school board members did some investigating and realized that the legal concerns that stopped the honor roll a few years back were not valid. They happily redacted the policy and have to be given extra credit for fixing the situation.

Muro was so determined to have students recognized for their academic success that he put a stack of blank paper in every teacher’s box a few weeks ago so we could print the honor rolls and post them in our classroom.

Students in my classes were surprised and happy to see their names listed on the honor roll.

A lot of worry is justifiably devoted to dropout rates and standardized test scores and security issues. These pre-adults give us fits because of their reckless behavior and their clothing or music.

But the honor roll reminds us that there are a lot of good kids who do well. Students get a lot of reminders about what they’re doing wrong: notices about unpaid fees, notices about detention hours that they need to serve, notices that they need to re-take the exit exam if they want to graduate.

To give them a notice that their hard work has paid off and earned them a spot on the honor roll might go a long way to reducing their appearance on those other not-so-positive lists.

Adam Breen teaches newspaper and yearbook at San Benito High School. He is former editor of The Free Lance.

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