Last Updated:November 29 @ 05:55 pm

Principal nixes honors night - too 'devastating' for those not honored

By The Eagle-Tribune

IPSWICH -- John Gillis has two students at the middle school who have worked hard to make the honor roll this year, but they won't be able to attend the school's annual honors night to celebrate their achievement.

That's because the school administration has decided to end the long-standing tradition in favor of recognizing students during an assembly attended by all students. During the assembly, students will be given awards for academics, sports, arts and everything in between.

"We took it from an exclusive nighttime ceremony where only honors students were invited and rolled it into our end-of-the-year assembly," Principal David Fabrizio said. "That way, everybody can celebrate their and their peers' achievements."

In a letter sent home to parents last week, Fabrizio said that it is the school's job to monitor both academic and social emotional growth. Concentrating on grades, "as strange as it sounds, can impinge upon the learning process," he wrote.

"The honors night, which can be a great sense of pride for the recipients' families, can also be devastating to a child who has worked extremely hard in a difficult class but who, despite growth, has not been able to maintain a high grade point average," Fabrizio wrote.

Fabrizio emphasized that the school hasn't ended honors recognition and that it believes in high achievement in all aspects of students' lives.

"We are still honoring success, we are just doing it in a different form," he said.

However, the idea of ending honors night isn't sitting well with many parents.

"I think the school should be committed to excellence and not mediocrity," Gillis said. "I was shocked because to get on the honor roll, you have to work hard. They shouldn't cancel (honors night) because somebody's feelings could be hurt. Life is a competition, and they should start competing."

Kevin Whooley, who has a daughter in eighth grade, said many parents are "dumbfounded" as to why the honors night needed to be canceled.

"They have had honors night here for years, and there is no reason not to continue it," he said. "It is like having a sports banquet for those who play sports. Not everyone makes honors. You can't be politically correct about everything."

Whooley noted that honors night was an event for the whole family, and many parents won't be able to make an assembly during the day.

Debbie Williams, who has a daughter in seventh grade, said that ending honors night sends the wrong message to students.

"It gives my daughter a chance to shine," Williams said. "She is not good at sports. She is an exceptionally academic student, and it makes her proud."

Fabrizio said that only a couple of parents have reached out to him in opposition to the plan, and the reaction he's received has been mostly positive. He said the idea was faculty-driven and supported by the School Committee and Superintendent Rick Korb.

"The Ipswich School Committee stands by the decision of our administrators and staff to celebrate the achievements of all students in a manner consistent with our school culture of inclusion," Chairman Hugh O'Flynn said in a statement.

"Based on research and collaborating with colleagues, we think this will be better for our students than the past ceremony," Fabrizio said.

Fabrizio said there are many misconceptions about the move.

"They think I am giving everyone a trophy, and that is so far from the truth," he said. "I know it is a tradition here, but sometimes we have to change things for the better. By seeing their classmates succeed, it may motivate some students to move forward."

Honors night would involve speeches by high school students and other guest speakers.

"It is the students who are struggling who need to hear the inspiring speeches of the high school students and see that they, too, can succeed," Fabrizio wrote in a follow-up letter to parents. "This does not happen if we have a night where they are not invited to attend."

Jeff Blizard, who has two boys at the school, said honors night has always been a special night for the family, and they would make it into a celebration. His eighth-grader has been recognized at honors night the past two years.

"My sixth-grader used the honors night as a goal to be onstage like his brother in years past," he said. "But he won't have that opportunity."

(c)2013 The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.)

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  1. dodgecharger4404Comment by dodgecharger4404
    March 22, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    Mediocrity, dumbing down, dependency, these are among the tenets of the culture of the left. According to their ideology, no one should be encouraged or allowed to excel at anything, whether it be in school or in business, and we certainly shouldn’t recognize or honor anyone who does, lest some crybaby should have hurt feelings. So tell us, where will this lack of excellence eventually take us as a country? Down to the level of, yes, below the other nations of the world.

    The direction of the left is always down and backwards, never up and forward.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      March 22, 2013 @ 9:20 am

      All Failure deserves recognition, so people will call it out and avoid it. Those Liberal losers who seek to avoid the recognition of the losers that they are, deny their own personal failure as vociferously as they deny the existence of well earned success in others. If one denies failure he must necessarily deny he deserves recognition and must deny recognition to those who excel and become successes. Those who deny personal failure submerge it. They usually take an extraordinary interest in avoiding anything that defines them as the self-chosen failure they accomplish. They see the recognition of others success as the recognition of their own failure that they deserve for their own sins, and avoiding the company of successful people makes them feel relieved some way of their guilt for their own well earned failure. By dumbing down of the COLLECTIVE performance to the lowest common denominator, they can take security and satisfaction in believing how others fail as well.” Misery indeed loves company as do moral predators. Make no mistake, those who associate with moral predators not only empower them but eventually become them. Enter Obama, Pelosi, Reid, the political paradigms of failure which must be elevated in society as the new American life style not of the rich and famous, but of the poor and infamous. Yes misery loves company, as do losers love the company of the lost.

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    • 7papa7Comment by 7papa7
      March 22, 2013 @ 10:13 am

      This is just further confirmation that the left is trying to make us into a third world country. The PC crowd should be taken out and shot. You are also seeing why graduates at all levels are so useless on the job. If I were not retired and responsible for hiring I probably wouldn’t consider anyone under about 45-50. They were brought up with a work ethic NOT like the kids today who think jobs are owed them. This principal should be fired. It is people like this moron that are destroying America from the inside out. I am sure he has probably sworn allegiance to the communist party.

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    • iu3kidsComment by iu3kids
      March 22, 2013 @ 10:30 am

      We wonder why the “public schools” are in such trouble????? No wonder so many people are deserting public education in favor of private or parochial schools, grammar, middle & high schools that is. What an idiot this principal is.

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    • rolly0412Comment by rolly0412
      March 22, 2013 @ 11:15 am

      Next big thing would be for honor students to spread and share the grades!

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    • KBBComment by KBB
      March 22, 2013 @ 11:45 am

      …where will this lack of excellence eventually take us as a country? Down to the level of, yes, below the other nations of the world….

      Works for Obama…

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    • bulletfish2013Comment by bulletfish2013
      March 22, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

      what about the devastating effects for those being honored, after they worked all year to be on the honors list, only to have it pulled out from under them at the last minute? Both sets of people have feelings, if your doning this to be fair, then your failing miserably!

      in order to make it fair for everyone, you can’t take what was earned by one student, without realizing that the student who earned the Honors has feelings as well, which means, that it’s just as devastating for the child that worked all year to be on the honors list and then not be Honored, Isn’t that the whole point of the Honors Programs?
      The message you are sending to the child that has excelled is, why bother! Nobody cares if you do better, so why try.

      Another easy assumption is that the children that earned the honors are all smart kids anyway, but the truth is many worked very hard to get the grades they needed to be on the honors list. This is the message that is lost in the “everyone is equal” ideology that you push.

      Here’s the best example I can think of, If I’m sick, and need a doctor to save my life, do I want the guy who did only what he had to, to get by, or the one who excelled at his schooling and graduated with honors?

      No matter how hard you try you can’t make everyone the same, look the same, feel the same, learn the same, etc. Some of us are simply smarter than others, there is nothing wrong with that, nor is there anything wrong for celebrating it!
      Smart people have feeling too!

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    • PatComment by Pat
      March 23, 2013 @ 8:24 am

      More PC liberal gobbildy goop. They just have to discredit or refuse to honor anyone who succeeds in leiu of placating those who did not.

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  2. dfrieze2001Comment by dfrieze2001
    March 22, 2013 @ 8:39 am

    More Liberal BS!

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    • pkbwComment by pkbw
      March 22, 2013 @ 8:49 am

      I am so sick and tired of these panty-waist liberals! Why are we denigrating achievement, especially achievements by our youth? I bet they don’t do this **** in India, South Korea or China! And they are kicking our butts.

      We need to get rid of principals like this guy and put someone in there who will build up our youth, not tell them that achievement is not important enough to share with family, peers and others. This guy is an idiot!

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  3. Dingbat36Comment by Dingbat36
    March 22, 2013 @ 8:51 am

    Guess I must have a mistaken idea of what education is (supposed) to be for. I naively thought the primary goal of education is to prepare our young people to operate in the “real” world of competitive business and to be able to earn a living, supporting themselves and their families.

    Education has devolved into an institution which attempts to wrap it’s students in a protective cocoon of sensitivity until it boots them out into the real world at graduation, totally unprepared to compete in that real world…………..and we wonder why so many of them fail?

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    • rzraickComment by rzraick
      March 22, 2013 @ 9:12 am

      The goal is to make everyone so inept that they must depend on the government for everything. Obedient worker, certainly not thinkers. Do your job, pay your taxes, don’t question authority. Obey, obey, obey without question.

      Get government out of education all together. If you love and value your kids, school them at home or get like minded people together and create your own schools.

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  4. lesncComment by lesnc
    March 22, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    Kids that are not taught early in life that there are winners and losers are not equipped to handle life’s problems they will face. Also it gives those not getting awards something to aspire to do better.

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  5. chief1937Comment by chief1937
    March 22, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    It is a fact that all students will not make the honor roll but that is life.Not all students will become business executives either does that mean we should punish those that excell just so feelings won’t get hirt what a crock.Set the goal high and all will strive harder set it low and most likely all will just get by thus our high school graduates can not do simple things like make change without a register that tells them how much to return.Life is never the same for everyone some just find things easier than others so why hold those back just so everyone gets the same grade grow up you will have to sooner or later we are not all exactly alike and that is life.

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  6. jwebsmallComment by jwebsmall
    March 22, 2013 @ 9:10 am

    This principal should be fired.

    He is incompetent and should have
    never graduated from school himself.

    The truth is these two students probably
    were not ideologically acceptable to
    the principal and thus failed his
    imaginary social growth estimate
    on the road to becoming a flaming
    liberal. So instead of allowing them
    to be recognized for their labor
    and achievement he canceled
    the event. Which in turn subliminally
    reminds any other students they
    will be liked wise punished if they
    are not politically correct.

    If some leftist students qualify
    next year he will no doubt instate
    the program. If this is the case
    this man should not only be fired
    but should face a civil suit if not
    charged with view point discrimination,
    harassment and intimidation.

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  7. freedixieComment by freedixie
    March 22, 2013 @ 9:19 am

    Another fine example of our communist/government school system and how they are adding to the already dumbed-down populace. Hard work and achievement should be recognized, but instead our government rewards the leeches of society with free handouts from those of us who work and pay taxes. More leeches are being created each year while the number of us struggling to keep our heads above water are shrinking. The mindset which is so common among liberals/Marxists and this idiot principal must be changed if we are to turn this country around and survive.

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  8. bull57Comment by bull57
    March 22, 2013 @ 9:22 am

    And the ignorance of participation awards mentality lives on! These young people should be praised for applying themselves and excelling in academics. Now, this comes from a man that was not on this list often, but would not ever take this moment of praise for these young people away. Shame on this principle!

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  9. p3driverComment by p3driver
    March 22, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    What these “intellectuals” forget is that not honoring those who deserve to be honored is devastating for that group. Or in other words, not taking a stand is taking a stand. And these are what we trust our children to? Overpaid (at whatever their salary is) and definitely UNqualified.

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  10. Pingback: School honors night, cancelled- "devastating" to those who did not earn honors - Gun & Game - Gun Forum Community

  11. pebearComment by pebear
    March 22, 2013 @ 9:46 am

    Well the libtards of MA don’t understand why they canceled “Honors” night? They vote for a succession of liberal candidates, they endorse a Liberal world view, they want to live a total political correct liberal life. Now when some of their children achieve honors and are not honored for the achievement they are dumbfounded. The end run of liberalism is a socialist tyrannical nanny state. In that philosophy there is no motivation to achieve and people will only do the bare minimum to get by. Maybe these parents and the electorate of MA ought to realize a shift to the right is in their best interest or these people will see a succession of crazy off the wall liberal ideas implemented in their communities like this.

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  12. debsComment by debs
    March 22, 2013 @ 9:49 am

    If this special night is being cancelled by the school for honor students, then I certainly hope there isn’t any special night or ceremony for the sports awards either. The sports awards should be given out at the general assembly too. But then, won’t all the the kids who don’t get any awards at the general assembly feel “left out and ashamed” too? This principal should be fired, he’s an idiot!

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  13. silverschuieComment by silverschuie
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:01 am

    This is all too reminiscent of a meeting my husband attended some years ago. He was a senior high math teacher and administrator. When the various administrators were asked “What is THE most important thing we need to teach the students?”, the elementary principals agreed it is SELF ESTEEM. When my husband responded “You can’t TEACH self esteem. It must be earned. Although I am a MATH teacher, I believe that the most important thing we teach is READING. A person who knows how to read can learn anything.” Some of them got the point; others unfortunately, did not.

    I agree with those here who have said this is carrying political correctness too far. Even young children know when recognition is real and earned and when it is just a sop. EARNING recognition for something one has achieved and seeing other receive recognition they have earned is inspirational, whether is is a top grade, a sports achievement, or applause for a performance of any kind.

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  15. odayterrenceComment by odayterrence
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:05 am

    I’ve worked in vocational education for 29 years. Our mindset is to give our students the training and skills they need to get employment and become successful in life. We incorporate Career-Technical Education Standards into all our curriculum. Students are expected to meet or exceed these standards or they don’t pass the courses. If some students do very well, we acknowledge their success. If some students are struggling, we give extra help/support to help them meet the standards. But we don’t skip or lower the standards because of “self-esteem” issues. We owe that to the community. Do YOU want the person fixing your brakes, preparing your food, taking care of your illness/injury, flying your plane, etc. to be someone whose “self-esteem” was more important than learning their job skills? I hope not!

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  16. mvotano58Comment by mvotano58
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:18 am

    My dad, who will be 86 years old this year, told me he had a teacher in high school who was talking about appeasement and he told his class, “Any man who will not fight his own brother will not fight anyone else.” By that he meant that when we start teaching our children that competition is bad, which starts with well meaning parents admonishing their children to “stop picking on your brother”, we set them up to be fearful of any competition or confrontation and we destroy their ability to stand up for themselves, to compete in the real world and to have pride in their achievements. Such a shame.

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  17. reidyComment by reidy
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    Seriously, I don’t think most of you read the article.

    The recognition was not cancelled, it was moved to be included in the regular school day. How many kids cried at home because they weren’t up on the stage on some given Thursday night? None. To move this assembly into the school day is a great idea. Now the “losers” (not a term I’m comfortable with in this context) can see that achievement is indeed celebrated.

    They only people left out here are a few dads who miss an opportunity to thump their chests and bask in the reflected glory of their kids’ achievements. Don’t worry Dad, there will be plenty of football banquets in high school.

    Having served this country for 30 years as an educator, I really doubt that the move was made to rob students of well deserved recognition.

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    • rustypatComment by rustypat
      March 22, 2013 @ 10:30 am

      Is there any reason why they can’t be honored @ the assembly in front of their peers (informal assembly) … AND … at Honors Night (formal assembly)? Is it really necessary to cancel Honors Night? Why not just add the assembly? Would it be a crime for those deserving accolades to actually receive them more than once in front of different audiences?

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    • pkbwComment by pkbw
      March 22, 2013 @ 10:44 am


      I am talking about the mindset of these liberals. I DID read the article and it really burns me up when that principal spouts useless pap such as: “Concentrating on grades, “as strange as it sounds, can impinge upon the learning process,”

      What an idiot!

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    • drewmeisterComment by drewmeister
      March 22, 2013 @ 11:28 am


      Seriously, I think most of those commenting not only read the article but have a much better understanding of what is happening in our society than you do. The fact that someone who thinks as you do was able to spend 30 years as an educator only serves to show how bad the system has already become, and there are no signs that the damage is reversible. The fact that most of our popular culture is designed with the lowest common denominator in mind has obviously spread to education and government.

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    • reidyComment by reidy
      March 22, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

      @pkbw: There is such a thing in educational psychology as “level of anxiety”. When it’s too low, students don’t bother to learn. When it’s too high, the anxiety about learning does actually inhibit the learning process.

      @drewmeister: You couldn’t hack this job for two weeks.

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    • spindizzyComment by spindizzy
      March 22, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

      Well, reidy, I hacked that job for 17 years. I loved the teaching and MOST of the students. What was so difficult to hack for this Christian Conservative was all the libtard teachers and administrators which vastly outnumbered us two or three conservatives. And you won’t tell this crowd, so I will, that they have never seen a more childish, vindictive, gang-mentality as you do when you get a group of libtards that think they are smart together where they outnumber the competition. There is NO room for oppossing viewpoints. You are belittled and denigrated if you don’t toe the libtard line. Public education in this country is BROKEN, and union run! I have a feeling from your other posts that I would consider you a prime example of why our education system is terrible broken, not educating, but indoctrinating. Keep posting on this site, please. We need more of your educating us to these things.

      On a different note, come on webmaster, give us a spell checker. Typing too fast to try to keep up with our thoughts leaves spelling secondary! We need a spell checker! Thanks.

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    • drewmeisterComment by drewmeister
      March 26, 2013 @ 8:41 am

      @reidy- I hacked the job for 3 years in the early 70s, suburban and inner-city high schools. I found the same problems as spindizzy and decided that I could not spend the rest of my working life in a lonely battle against a system that did not want to be fixed. “Never underestimate the power of large groups of ignorant people.”

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  18. jbdestinyComment by jbdestiny
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    So the principal claims that only a couple of people have complained, and most parents that he’s heard from are positive. Then why did he need to send out a follow-up letter defending his decision? Dude, if you’re going to lie, at least make it convincing!

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    • arwenusaComment by arwenusa
      March 22, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

      And why have only a couple of people complained? Because only a few kids were going to receive the honors. The rest of the parents have kids who haven’t earned any honors.

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  19. rustypatComment by rustypat
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:26 am

    Ummmm … isn’t “Honor’s Night” open to the public. It isn’t as though those not receiving such honors are being precluded from attending the “inspirational” and “motivational” speeches. Honor’s Night is a logistical accommodation to those who would be burdened by a mid-day event and are most interested in being able to attend.

    As to the mostly favorable response … hmmm, top 10% (arbitrary number) get honors, 90% don’t. Change the format against the 10%, but for the 90%, and you are judging the response based on those who the event was not designed for rather than who it was (i.e. the honor recipient families).

    Just another scenario where the concept of “what’s most popular” is not what’s “most appropriate”. Leadership by consensus or popularity is NOT leadership. Leadership with discernment will recognize when consensus is appropriate and when it is irrelevant. In this scenario, the attention to consensus/popularity is not a good call, as you are reducing the magnitude of the honor in the process.

    If I decide to serve ice cream & chocolate cake for dinner, more people may say “Yeah, that’s a good idea, we like it.” than say “We were hoping for a healthy meal.” … but does that really make it a better idea, or one of appropriateness?

    Leadership by consensus/popular opinion is not leadership. It is a recipe for socialistic mediocrity and demise that is difficult to recover from. Giving Johnny a gold star for trying still doesn’t enable him to add 1+1=2. Giving him a hug & and a pat on the back to encourage him to try again is meritable to bring him up to the the ability to perform, but don’t penalize those who have already worked so hard to perform at high levels, by imposing additional burden on their families ability to attend the honors.

    Obama-Nation is an Abomination

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  20. tomyj1Comment by tomyj1
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:26 am

    Why even have a honors assembly? Why have a honor roll?Why even have great science projects? If you want to be honored go do something stup!d to get your name in the paper and on TV.This administration spokesman cites “lots of studies” show which SOCIALIST ones he listened to.I am glad that I HOME SCHOOLED my children….

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    • arwenusaComment by arwenusa
      March 22, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

      You were lucky you were able to home school your kids. It will undoubtedly soon be disallowed, by Executive Order if necessary.

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    • constitutionalistComment by constitutionalist
      March 23, 2013 @ 11:31 am

      Already being done by immigration. A German family asked for asylum in the US so they could home school their children which is illegal in Germany. They and their children are going to be deported for home schooling in the US. In Germany their children were forcibly taken to public schools, the fine they paid was 50% of father’s yearly income. Why are they being deported? Because they came legally. Should have come illegally and they would have been given all the freebies we offer Mexicans.

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  21. JDZComment by JDZ
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:32 am

    Even in the sports domain for our youngsters they have changed the way team sports keep score, etc. so that losers and winners are minimized or eliminated if possible. Some schools have implemented pass/fail criteria instead of grades. Our federal government gives free cell phones, free housing and food, and two years of free income to millions of people who do not have to do anything to earn these handouts. Creative Americans can have a lifestyle equivalent to earning $60,000 a year by signing some documents admitting their lack of income and then just sit back and enjoy themselves. The government now allows those on food stamps (EBT debit cards) to use funding aimed at providing food for those in trouble to now spend this government subsidy on anything…not just food. Many Americans have learned how to leverage these government subsidies to such lucrative levels that it has becme a waybo life for them from generation to generation.

    What does this have to do with honor students being recognized? It fits into the overall socialist model of the collective where everyone basically has the same standard of living built around net income whether earned or not as the government makes up the differences using taxes paid by the wage earners in the country. No one is recognized as a stand out or deficient as it is politically incorrect and demeaning.

    Guess what happens to the incentive to work hard and earn a loving?

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    • arwenusaComment by arwenusa
      March 22, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

      Let’s start calling the “collective” the “HIVE” – it sounds so much worse!

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  22. joe23006Comment by joe23006
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:44 am

    When I took teacher training courses in college, something I never had to use as I did much better elsewhere having already seen the state of things back in 1968, one instructor wrote this on the board, Those who can: DO; Those who can’t: TEACH! From preschool through twelft grade and into the administration this has become quite obvious. Any thought of achievement outside the narrow parameters of a vacuous indoctrination (school) system must be discouraged or the lie will become transparant.

    Excellence is to feared, critical thinking is an abomination, difference is eschewed. These ideas are too middle class for the elites. Drone bees and worker ants is what they want and need to feel superior. They are afraid that their position is in peril if someone has the abilities to question them.

    The termites of progressivism have been chewing away for a century and the time is right for the collapse of the last remaining timbers in the house of education, thereby the collapse of the United States as we know it!

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  23. missieb2000Comment by missieb2000
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    130 High St Ipswich, MA 01938
    (978) 356-3535

    seems like a great place to start leaving your disapproval.

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  24. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    March 22, 2013 @ 10:58 am

    Are there any teachers left who are simply interested in teaching kids how to read, write, and do math?

    Are all school administrators so totally liberal/progressive that they must be eliminated?

    Each community should evaluate the people who educate their kids and ‘take out the trash’ before they trash all of the kids.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      March 22, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

      I think the problem with “taking out the trash” is the fact that will teachers unions and educational organizations, that is next to impossible.

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  25. amybeamComment by amybeam
    March 22, 2013 @ 11:42 am

    Congratulations to Principal David Fabrizio for understanding that public education should be inclusive not elitist. Many people may not know that being selected to be inducted into the National Honor Society (NHS) is based on:

    1. academic standing (GPA)
    2. leadership
    3. service
    4. character

    The NHS guidelines state, “Candidates are not to be disqualified early in the process due to character,” implying that candidates may be disqualified later in the process based on character.

    Academic achievement is not subjective. Students must have a 3.0 (B) grade point average (GPA) or better. Demonstration of leadership and service are only slightly subjective. The problem comes with evaluation of character. A student’s character is subjectively determined by a committee of five teachers. A majority vote of 3 is required.

    When students are excluded from NHS or NJHS based on character, it causes undo harm that can last a lifetime. A young person questions him or herself, ‘What’s wrong with me?’

    As a high school junior in 1967, I was not inducted into the NHS even though I had the third highest GPA in a class of 220 students and a long list of unquestionable leadership roles and service to my school and community from seventh grade to eleventh grade. That left only character to disqualify me.

    I was outspoken against the Vietnam War from the outset, and because of this, I was dismissed from my volunteer job as office assistant in the principal’s office after five years of volunteer work, two periods per day.

    In addition, for 18 years my father was the president of the school board which on occasion had to take disciplinary action against teachers, two of whom were on the NHS selection committee. It was not until my 25th high school reunion that one of my favorite teachers told me, “Oh, didn’t you know, it was because your father was on the school board? No teacher ever wanted to have you in his or her class because you were the daughter of the school board president.” I hugged her for confirming a truth my mother always told me, but which my heart could not accept.

    I was shattered not to be inducted into NHS. One of the best teachers in the school resigned from the selection committee over my exclusion. It was only then that my mother confessed the same thing had happened to her. She had the top national test scores in her school of over 2000 students. She had not been advised that she must perform some sort of service. She was too busy working after school during the Great Depression.

    After college I became a teacher and instituted all-inclusive awards assemblies such as Principal Fabrizio is doing. We tried to give some sort of recognition to every student, even if it was for good attendance or effort. Student moral, motivation, and test scores soared.

    No smart person ever was hindered in his or her achievement by having a “slower” student next to him/her, but the less academically oriented student usually is inspired and motivated when in proximity to talented, gifted students.

    In this day and age when many young people are activists, it should not be left to teachers to judge their “character” which is more often misused as judging their political beliefs. It is clear from the rantings of the commenters on this web page that they, if given the chance, would use political beliefs and activism as a criterion for determining character and, thus, exclusion from honor societies.

    Dr. Amy L. Beam

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    • allfor1and1forallComment by allfor1and1forall
      March 22, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

      Dr. Beam, I’m sure that you have no clue as to how much your comments prove the point that most of the others are making. Let me make one overall observation and one overall point.

      Much of your background tells me that you were likely raised as a liberal, such as your attitude that opposition to the Vietnam War somehow infers some sort of sainthood on you, and your ‘woe is me, somebody was mean to me’ attitude. Seriously lady? At your 25th Class Reunion you were still distraught? Geesh! Get a grip!

      Be that as it may, character also includes fortitude, self-discipline AND self-reliance. And, yet, here you are, decades later, still moping and whining about a long-ago (perceived?) injustice. Get over it and deal with it like an adult.

      Lastly, it is both frightening and telling that you became a teacher and an administrator.

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    • foggyComment by foggy
      March 22, 2013 @ 3:21 pm


      If you are not a medical doctor, please do not refer to yourself as “Dr.” Otherwise it smacks of putting on airs and is as annoying as a lawyer appending “Esquire” to his or her name. I realize that you are probably very proud of yourself for having earned a doctorate in whatever your field may be. If it’s education then I am not impressed at all.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      March 22, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

      “It is clear from the rantings of the commenters on this web page that they, if given the chance, would use political beliefs and activism as a criterion for determining character. . .”

      Ms. Beam, it is interesting that the LONGEST “rant” on this page is yours and consists of nothing more than “poor me”. There is always someone else to blame. “I didn’t make the team even though I qualified simply because my dad was school board president”. I would suspect that you might have tried to use your dad’s position as a bullying tactic more than once to try to get your way. I also wonder why your mother was intelligent enough to make the grades and wanted to be included in the NHS, yet she didn’t know the criteria for qualifying. “Nobody told her she had to perform some service.” It’s always blaming someone else, isn’t it?

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    • spindizzyComment by spindizzy
      March 22, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

      “Dr.”. They love to be called that. Walking down the halls you hear “Hello, Dr.”, “Well, hello to you, Dr.” bouncing off each others heads. Oh, they definitely ARE putting on airs. To themselves and to each other. And they want EVERYONE to call them “Dr.”. And I’m sorry for being so slow, but I can’t get what the good doctor is even trying to say in that last paragraph.

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    • thethinkerComment by thethinker
      March 22, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

      Dr. Beam:

      OMG, could you be any whinier?

      So, your father was president of the school board? Poor little thing. My father was a drunk.

      You were “shattered not to be inducted into NHS.” I was shattered every time the police showed up to break-up one of my parents’ brawls. Of course, I was also shattered every time the lights or phone got shut-off because the bills weren’t paid…or, the car got repossessed, or we got evicted, etc.

      You wanted to be in the NHS. I just wanted to go to school wearing new clothes, instead of my cousin’s hand-me-downs.

      I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea: you are–and, obviously, were–a selfish, spoiled brat. If your character today remotely resembles the quality of your character as a high school student, then you were rightly denied NHS membership.

      From your comments, you and I were in high school about the same time (I have a couple years on you). I attended a large (1500 students) urban school, where there were never more than a half-dozen or so NHS members. Even on the other side of town, where the “rich kids” lived, NHS was always a small group–10-15, at most, even in the large schools. In other words, in the 1960′s NHS membership was truly an “honor”, not an entitlement. Also, last I heard, the GPA required for NHS was 3.5 (of course it might have been 3.0 in the 1960′s; it could have been raised to accomodate grade inflation).

      As for what happened to me after high school, not having a stellar high school record (hardly NHS material) based on my ACT and SAT scores, and the school’s own entrance exam (I was always an avid reader, the advantage of growing up without television) I managed to get into a small, local college, where my GPA was never below 3.75, and I even managed a couple 4.0 semesters. After two-and-a-half years, I transfered to a state university, from which I graduated with honors, with a degree in History, and a triple minor (Economics, Sociology, and English…it took me a while to decide on a major). I was certified as a secondary level social science teacher in my state, but between the scarcity of teaching positions and the direction public schools were headed, I was quickly disillusioned (I knew I would never make it in the public school system after attending an AFT meeting). I ended up owning my own business.

      I suppose I could be like you, crying that after spending all that time and money on a college education, receiving excellent grades and recomendations, I had earned a teaching job…I was entitled to one, right? Wrong. That diploma didn’t entitle me to anything (just as thousands of young people are discovering today). Likewise, your “3rd highest GPA” didn’t entitle you to NHS membership–maybe, that’s the lesson your high school NHS academic committee realized you needed to learn.

      A couple final points: (1) You state that, “No smart person ever was hindered in his or her achievement by having a ‘slower’ student next to him/her, but the less academically oriented student usually is inspired and motivated when in proximity to talented, gifted students.”

      That is complete nonsense. I know, because I was one of those “slower” students, and I never felt inspired or motivated by the presence of ‘gifted’ students, even if I was aware of their academic talent, which I generally wasn’t–I had a great many other things on my mind. That’s not to say I felt nothing around the ‘good’ kids, or the ‘smart’ kids–I felt plenty. Things like intimidation, shame, jealousy, anger, embarrassment, etc., but no motivation or inspiration.

      (2) As for the ‘gifted’ student being hindered by slower students, they most definitely are. One of my kids was (is) exceptionally gifted, but didn’t begin to truly achieve until he was placed in accelerated classes, with older or similarly gifted students. He had struggled with boredom in early grade school, and my requests that he be given extra work to keep him interested and challenged were always met with the same reply: no time, because there were other kids who needed extra attention. So, do yourself (and any students you happen to be around) a favor: stop reading public school propaganda, and start thinking for yourself.

      One last question, then I’m finished, I promise. You claim you were “dismissed from [your] volunteer job as office assistant in the principal’s office after five years of volunteer work, two periods per day.” How many years were you in high school? Just curious.

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