It’s that time of year again where academic honors and awards are handed out for hard work done well. But sometimes our well-intended accolades come with unintended consequences. Students who strive to be the best often become stressed, frustrated, and even burned out with school. The question we should be asking: Is it really worth it?
Research tells us that valedictorians are hard workers. The same research tells us they are not necessarily the most academically gifted though. Moreover, a large study conducted on valedictorians tells us that valedictorians rarely go on to create change in society. They do become quite successful, but only by following a prescribed set of rules and expectations. A similar study tells us that most of our top leaders could have actually been considered underperformers in high school or college.
In today’s episode, I’m joined by current middle school principal Charley Cass to talk more on the awards season. We take a look at this from the perspectives of educators, students, and parents. Charley brings us stories from his experiences as a building leader at the middle school and high school levels.
Charley Cass is in his second year as Superintendent/Principal at Bethel Grade School District #82 in Mt. Vernon, IL. This is his 21st year in education serving as a junior high and high school principal and high school teacher and coach. He is the 2016 Illinois Principals Association Middle School Principal of the year and the 2019 Illinois PTA Administrator of the year. His speaking topics include poverty and social emotional learning.