Yesterday was our end of year awards day. The kids made it through 1st grade with just a few minor hiccups along the way. We sat through two hours of awards being presented to students who excelled due to being academically gifted.
Something that they are born with. Something that causes learning to come easily. Spelling Bee winners, highest points in reading fluency, best reading test scores, best scores in math, money prizes and trophies awarded by local organizations based on overall outstanding student who excelled academically this year.
As each student walked up to the stage to accept the certificates, trophies, and applause, my heart was a bit heavy.
Not just for my kids (who sat on the front row with their class and kept turning around waving at us) but for 75% of the other kids, as well, who also were not recognized for anything special they did this year.
Where is the recognition for academics not coming easily for students and yet they tried 100% to “get it”? The ones who when doing homework have to work an hour longer than others because they are struggling to understand it. But yet they try with all they have in them?
Where is the recognition for the ones with reading disabilities that still managed, through frustration and tears, to learn 5 more sight words?
Where is the recognition for the students with not perfect attendance because they stayed home with that stomach virus and fever instead of bringing it to school?
Where is the recognition for the students who may not be as smart as the others but they are more kind-hearted. And helpful. And they hold doors for the ones behind them. And they accept everyone as their friend?
75% percent of the students yesterday sat there never hearing their named called. Never being told “You did great this year by trying your very best”.
What message is this sending our kids? Is it telling them that only the smart succeed? Is it telling them that effort doesn’t mean anything? Is it telling them to give up trying because we don’t even notice you?
(Healthcare is not the only thing that is broken)
So I have an award for all these kids. They will never see it. But you all will.
This is for all you lovely precious elementary students from our school and yours who tried even harder than the ones who received all the awards for being smart.
APPLAUSE APPLAUSE APPLAUSE