I find it strange that the Des Moines Iowa Schools would organize and hold an awards banquet and award prizes and give accolades at that banquet in every activity area but academics. Certainly there was a Scholar-Athlete Award listed as one of the awards given but I must wonder does one have to be an athlete to receive an award for scholarship. Aren’t all students supposed to be scholars not just athletes? Isn’t this Scholar/athlete award more than a little demeaning to athletes in general, inferring that scholarly athletes are so rare that when one is found they must receive a special award? Where were the National Merit Scholars/Finalists, the kids with a perfect score on the ACTs, Academic decathlon medalists, History Day Winners, as well as the champions of numerous science and math competitions at this banquet?
The failure to reward their skills at this ceremony is an indictment of where our real priorities lie and illustrates the differences between academic action and chin music. I would guess that if our academic activity winners/leaders had been invited to this celebration they would most probably have been found sitting on folding chairs around an old card table at the back of the hall and on the last page of the program.
Perhaps if we took the time to remember what the purpose of our schools is, our efforts to improve them might produce some sweeter fruit.