In today’s educational society there always seems to be segregationamong students. Furthermore, these different groups always seem to havetheir own special titles. There are the “jocks,” the “preps,” the ever-classic “white-trash” and many more. But there is a certain breed ofstudent that always seems to be either loved or hated. Society likes tocall these people the “honor students.”Honor students are always looked upon as the smart people, or perhapsthe rich people, whose parents can somehow pay their way through the hardclasses (ahem, ahem, yeah right.) But what is the real reason theseoverachievers are such overachievers? Why do they seem to strive againstwhatever odds to get a 4.0 GPA, a 32 on the ACTs, or even something assimple as an A on some trivial argumentative essay (Covey 21)? Despite manyother judgments, the reason these adolescents transcend every day societyis simply because they care (Covey 22).
So what about the kids who don’t care, the “regular” kids? Manypeople have many reasons for why these kids are not the honor students. Onepopular belief is that they are more “well-rounded.” It is an acceptedopinion that these kids are not fanatical like the honor students, thatthey are more willing to accept what comes their way and to try to do whatlittle they can and leave it at that. They supposedly have good controlover their lives, and are able to balance their time between school andsocial life.
However, this point of view is terribly false (Lynch 1). For example,who has more control, the child who learns to manage his time between afootball game, a pizza, a movie, and ten minutes worth of homework, or thechild who learns to manage his time between AP Chemistry, Honors AmericanLiterature, Key Club, Renaissance, band, and debate? The latter child willbe more concerned with key issues not only in school, but also in laterlife (Covey 111). He has put his own principles first and found a type ofbalance (Covey 26). Shirley Lynch has said this in speaking of students inhonor’s classes, “…Children with an internal locus of control have anincreased ability for impulse control, delay of gratification, andregulation of attention in classroom settings (1).” The young man or womanwho does these things will be able to more fully accept theresponsibilities presented to him/her throughout his/her years (Covey 111).
Nevertheless, our question has still not been answered; if these”normal” young adults are not better rounded, why are they not in thehonor’s classes? Another stance is that non-honor students are not forcedthe way honor students are. Supposedly, parents can force their childreninto always trying for those top scores. Supposedly, the simple answer isthat non-honor students have parents who are more accepting of who and whatthey are. Supposedly, the parents of honor students press their children tothe point of desperation, where they must then get into as much of the hardstuff as they can so they can “fill the old man’s shoes.”While there is truth in the fact that parents and families can be amotivating factor (Evans 78), it is not true that parents force theirchildren’s way through school (Covey 23). The real force that compels thehonor students to excellence is the force of the future (Covey 217). Theseyoung adolescents look to what they want in their future and what they canmake it into. They understand and take heed to the words of Ralph WaldoEmerson when he said, “The future belongs to those who prepare for it(Evans 69).” They take into consideration their enjoyments, and where thoseenjoyments can be found in college and later on in a full-time job. Theybear in mind their families, their finances, their struggles, their joys,their talents, and their loves, and they make those choices that will leadthem to the best education possible so they can have the best life possible(Evans 74). They force themselves.
So if it is not force or “roundedness” that separates the honors fromthe non-honors, what is it? Oh, yes, no conversation about honor studentswould be complete without the word “smart.” The most popular way to look athonor students is to give them the designation of “the smart kids.” Theseteenagers are looked at in some glorified way, as if their IQ is so highthat they might start to float into the air at any minute. Non-honorstudents are then placed under the pedestal that the honor students arepropped upon, left to feel as if they can’t do everything the honorstudents can. They gain the opinion of themselves that they are not brightenough, good enough, or enough, enough, enough until their list is longerthan Santa’s.
But this is not true. While some honor students have special giftsand abilities, the majority of honors student are just plain old average(Lynch 5). The IQ of a young man in an Honor’s American Literature classcould be just the same, if not less, than the IQ of some young women in a”regular” literature class (Lynch 6). The only real and true difference isthat the young man cares. He has internal self-control over what he wantsto achieve (Lynch 11). He, like other honor students, cares what happens tohim (Covey 21). He wants to make his life better, to show others what hecan do, to make what he can of himself and of his talents so he can havepride in his work (Lynch 8). The young woman, however, will shrug thingsoff. If she gets a B she’ll be happy. She won’t care. Excellence is notsomething that she has had to do in the past, so why bother with doing itnow? She’ll just leave it to the honor students to get the A’s (Covey 16).
So do that precisely, just leave it to the honor students, and in themeantime, take a closer look at them. Go ahead, pick up your head up fromthis paper and look around. These are the kids who will spend fifty dollarson a class that prepares them for the ACTs. These are the kids that stay upnight after night to read and study and ponder and learn. These are thekids that will read their essays over and over and over until they knowthat they are just right. These are the kids who will try to listen, and toaccept, and to take in what it is you are telling them. Sure they’re notperfect, but they are the kids are shouldn’t be graduating “Magna CumLaude,” but instead, simply because of how much they care (Yeager), shouldbe honored with “Magna Care Lote.” WORKS CITEDCovey, Sean. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. New York, NY: FranklinCovey Co. 1998.
Evans, Richard L. Richard Evans’ Quote Book. Salt Lake City, Utah.
Lynch, Shirley. “Parental enabling attitudes and locus of control of at-risk and honors students.” 27 Oct. 2003.
Yeager, Ronda. “Super Student honors students for academic achievement.” 4Aug. 2002. 27 Oct. 2003.