- Special Sections
- Public Notices
his open letter of April 18 from the 2011 senior class of Collins High School to the administration at Collins High School was provided to The Sentinel-Newsby Elizabeth Sames:
On behalf of the 2011 Senior Class of Martha Layne Collins High School, we would like to formally object not only to the decision to eliminate class ranking from the seating of graduation, but also the fact that our classmates including valedictorian, salutatorian, and class officers will not be able to speak to their peers as we come together this final day.
Graduation is a very important event in a students’ life. It is the end of one vital chapter and the beginning of a new one, and before we close this chapter, we, Class of 2011, know that our voices should be heard because this is an event that directly affects us. This decision should not be made by the administrators, nor the teachers. This is our moment to showcase what we, the senior class, have accomplished in our four years of high school. You see, what might not be an important factor to the administration in planning graduation can be seen as a milestone to us.
Class ranking has become the largest controversy between students and faculty. Graduation is supposed to be about the students, not the administration, and we feel as though our accomplishments should be shown to our family, friends, and peers. Sitting in class rank might not sound significant, to those that it does not directly affect, but to us, being first, or fourth, or even fifteenth means so much more. To us, the graduates, ranking is a great result of hard work, dedication, and effort. Isn’t that what Martha Layne Collins should be about? Titan Creed: Care, Honor, Succeed.
These high ranked students are those who exemplify those characteristics that Martha Layne Collins strives to produce. Throughout our first and last year at Martha Layne Collins, the senior class cared and honored, but now it is time for us to show our success to all.
As the first graduating class, we set the precedent for the future classes. Should we show future generations that receiving high marks is worth nothing more than long alphabetical seating assignments? What drive will future seniors have to do well enough to be number one with no public reward? Do we no longer believe in the value of extraordinary achievement or is it nothing more than a college acceptance letter? We, the seniors, care about our rank. We believe that we deserve to show that our hard work has paid off and have our accomplishments displayed and broadcasted.
Furthermore, changing the alphabetical system to a ranking system is not a difficult task. In high schools across the country, a class ranking in a graduation ceremony is the norm even if it is just recognizing the top ten or twenty percent. Why can’t we show what Martha Layne seniors have accomplished? What is so wrong with class ranking?
We, the seniors, have accomplished so much in this school’s christening year. We may have been Titans for only one year, but in that short time we have set high precedents for not only academic achievement but also within the community. The first graduating class has sacrificed so much by leaving our peers, our teachers, and our family in order to form a lasting standard for many years to come at Martha Layne. Due to the sacrificing, we, the first graduating class, the class of 2011, solemnly asks that ranking be put back into our system.
We believe that it is equally imperative to acknowledge outstanding individuals within the class. It has become standard that the valedictorian and salutatorian speak to their peers in a graduation ceremony. Our valedictorian, Lindsay Tripp, and salutatorian, Tanner Smith, are two of the most noteworthy individuals not only at Martha Layne Collins High School, but that have ever passed through the Shelby County Public School system. They are extremely academically and athletically involved, as well as community oriented, and should be recognized for all that they have accomplished in the last four years. Additionally, we believe that our class officers are some of the most devoted students within the school and that they too should be able to address their peers one final time. The class officers have been operational in creating many founding traditions that will continue to be memorable for graduating classes to come. We realize that the administration is concerned in having a timely graduation ceremony, but that is a moment that we, the graduating class, will only experience once in our lifetime.
All aside the graduating class is willing to compromise. We realize that the administration is on a schedule but why not let the highest ranked and hardest working students speak? Their accomplishments should not go unnoticed on such a memorable occasion. In addition, the administration could put time limits to the speeches. By putting selected times for each speaker, valedictorian, salutatorian, and class officers, the administration can guarantee that graduation will end promptly as they planned. Another solution could be only the valedictorian and salutatorian speaks. Or valedictorian, salutatorian and just class president on behalf of all officers? Three short speeches to recognize the individuals is not asking too much.
The graduating class of Martha Layne Collins High School 2011 asks the administration and Site-Based Decision-Making Council to reconsider their decision in regards to class rank and seating and omitting selected individuals speak because this is our day. We know this day should showcase all of our wonderful students and their talents, reflecting the quality of individuals attending Martha Layne Collins High School. This is one of the most memorable days in our lives and we, the graduating class, would like this to be our graduation, not the administrators’ ceremony.