More need to take part in student selection

Few selectors narrow pool of nominees

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More need to take part in student selection

(SINO OULAD DAOUD/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(SINO OULAD DAOUD/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(SINO OULAD DAOUD/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(SINO OULAD DAOUD/EYE OF THE TIGER)

MIKAYLA STEARNS

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Are Roseville High School awards meant for everyone? I would assume not, being that they are for “above and beyond service to the school,” according to assistant principal Matt Pipitone. These awards aren’t the burnt-out ROAR bucks that you can maybe enter for a five dollar gift card (but that ends up in the bottom of your backpack), they’re accolades for outstanding work.

I informally interviewed quite a few people for this article, which is slightly uncommon for opinion pieces. I wanted to confirm what I’ve heard from quite a few teachers – that a very similar group of staff participate in each award nomination process.

So what does this mean? If this is true, then there’s an easy way to hack the system and ensure yourself those awards for your college resume. You just have to know the right people.

Theoretically, if you have a good relationship with a teacher that is heavily involved in every award process, you have a big fat chance of getting multiple awards. This also means that the selectors for courts and ribbons and certificates do not represent a diverse, holistic RHS staff. It represents the few that go out of their way to honor their kids, and are the kind who probably sign up to bring food to teacher barbecues or organize staff Buca de Beppo nights.

So, at my journalistic request, I was able to track down the number of staff who nominated students for Tiger Pride award. According to Pipitone, staff each often nominate five or 10 students for the award, but the number of staff who actually nominate didn’t manage to pass 35 in the last three fall terms. Last fall, it was as low as 24 staff members. Out of nearly 200 staff, comprised of teachers, maintenance workers and administrators, that’s pitiful – especially since Tiger Pride awards are supposed to be quick, for the little things and for the “right now,” according to Pipitone. (And since everyone who is nominated gets the certificate automatically anyway.)

“We do not get the kind of participation that we’ve wanted to historically,” Pipitone said.

Accolades like Girls State and Boys State are a little bit more coveted. Staff can only nominate five for each, and the nominees need to be approved by College and Career Center technician Jacqueline Seider. Whoever gets the most nominations by the staff gets to be one of the final five for their Boys/Girls group. Admin was quick to correct me that this is not a “popularity” thing – but it is still a process that asks for students who are popular with the staff. In this case, you might have to know a few of the right teachers – the ones who submit nominations – in order to secure a spot.

Surprisingly to me, staff participation for Girls/Boys State was consistently higher than for Tiger Pride. It’s a more detailed nomination process, it’s harder to win, and it’s full of supposedly the best of the best, but we still see more staff filling out forms. Last year, 41 staff nominated for Boys and 55 for Girls. That’s a fair percent of the entire staff list, so that’s progress.

If you’re an upstanding citizen that doesn’t know one of the outgoing staff members for these things, you drew the short stick. This is especially obvious in the Golden R nomination, which is an award only available to seniors who have already won once in their high school career. This means that a students would need to be exposed to at least two teachers who routinely take advantage of the opportunity to nominate to nominate students for Golden Rs – and would have to have this exposure in at least two different years. It’s a relative cookie jar on the top shelf that offers no ladder to a majority of students.

And hotly contested dance courts fall to the same issue. In an email, student activities director Brent Mattix estimated that maybe a few new teachers show up for committee, and while better than nothing that hardly begins to fix the issue. That is not to say they do not try, though.

“Selecting court is one of the hardest things we do because there are so many great applicants and many people who are not selected are upset and come up with a variety of untruth speculation as to why the process is not fair,” Mattix said.

Most student complaints are about nominees’ qualifications. But we fail to look at the fundamental problem: the driving forces behind recognizing outstanding students are not totally reflective of the student body.