Officials at a middle school in Rhode Island ended a tradition of a student “Honors Night” because of the event’s “exclusive nature.”
School administrators said students will instead be recognized at “team-based” ceremonies, but that hasn’t prevented the school’s decision from becoming the latest hot topic in America’s culture wars.
A notice sent over the weekend to parents of students at Cole Middle School in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, claims that “members of the school community have long expressed concerns related to the exclusive nature of Honors Night,” ABC6 in Providence reported.
The Honors Night tradition dates back many years, and, according to ABC6, some students and parents are upset by the change.
“That made me want to work harder and a lot of other people work harder, so just the fact you can’t work towards it anymore then there is no goal,” student Kaitlyn Kosloski told ABC6.
In the notice to families, Cole Middle School Principal Alexis Meyers said the change would allow the school to “celebrate the individual and collective successes of all students and their effort, progress, and excellence.”
However, within hours of the story making national headlines, some bloggers were already sharing their opinions.
“… administrators would rather disincentivize achievement by the most promising students than recognize these achievers, quite possibly giving those who didn’t qualify this year motivation to try harder next year,” wrote B. Christopher Agee on the website Western Journalism.
One commenter on Reddit added: “Yet another example of ‘No Child Let Ahead’. Public education is so abysmally simple nowadays they might as well call it ‘average night’ anyway.”
Here is the full transcript of the school communication according to ABC6:
Dear Cole Families,
We would like to take this opportunity to notify you of a change to our annual spring events at Cole. Honors Night has been a longstanding tradition in our community -- one that was created in the Cole Junior High School era. Members of the school community have long expressed concerns related to the exclusive nature of Honors Night. Therefore, we have made the collective decision to recognize students during team-based recognition ceremonies and graduation. This will afford us the opportunity to celebrate the individual and collective successes of all students and their effort, progress, and excellence.
Additionally, our Cole varsity athletes will receive their medals and trophies at an after school ceremony.
Best wishes for a nice weekend.
Alexis Meyer and Dan Seger