Orcutt Academy High School News and Event

The Spartan Oracle.

Junior Escorts at Grad?

Derek Sportsman, Psych Student

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Allow me to expose one of the heteronormative traditions of Orcutt Academy.

It’s called Junior Escorting. Every year, the school administration chooses a group of juniors with high GPAs to escort seniors through their awards ceremony and graduation. At first glance, this is a respectable form of recognition for these juniors, all of whom have littered their educational curriculum with AP and Hancock courses. Because of this, these juniors have had many interactions with the students preceding them, and therefore have likely made many friends among the senior class, making it a fitting tradition for them to escort the seniors through their final events of high school.

At a closer look, however, we find some prevalent issues with this escorting tradition. The group of juniors chosen is balanced by the binary genders, forming a group of students that is not actually comprised of those with the highest GPAs. For example, in my junior year, there were a total of twelve junior escorts: six boys and six girls. If you examined the class ranking system, you could see that all six of the girls chosen were among the top twelve students in our junior class (Santiago, 2017). However, only three of the boys chosen were among the top twelve. The other three could be found at ranks 15, 19, and 23 (Rosario, 2017). This means that these boys were chosen simply to uphold the “balance” of gender among the escorts, as if that was more important than recognizing those who had earned their place among the top twelve.

Considering this practice, I have come up with several questions as to why the administration continues to support the escorting traditions in this manner. Is it because they feel that the genders should be academically evaluated separately? If so, this would support the false assumption that one gender is more academically competent than another (Pearson, 2017), as grading scales would compare people only to those who have the same gender identity. Despite studies illustrating that boys tend to be stronger in categories of STEM (Ghazvini, 2017) and girls tend to be more proficient in the humanities (Noack, 2017), the assertion that one gender is biologically more capable of achieving a higher overall GPA stands with little-to-no factual vindication (Ghazvini, 2017). Not to mention, because Orcutt Academy is not a private school, it is not legal to evaluate genders on separate ranking scales (CA AB-23, 2017), so this is not a valid justification for our school’s escorting practices.

So this brings us to the next question: is the “gender-balanced” group of juniors chosen because the administration believes male-female pairings look more professional? Let’s reject the conviction that man must be coupled with woman, because whether it arises due to the pressure from parents or the lack of awareness among the administration, the idea that heteronormative combinations of students are more appealing to look at is extremely ignorant and somewhat prejudicial.

This “gender-balancing” tradition has served to honor some less-deserving boys over some girls who had higher class rankings (Santiago, 2017). Is this, then, a subtle form of sexism imposed to make sure that men can boost their intellectual reputations? Does the administration find it necessary to falsely portray the male population of our school- this is a specific observation, not a biological argument of competence- as being equally as advanced as the female population? As if the men of our society don’t already have enough societal favoritism to support their inflated views of themselves (Angelo, 2017).

In conclusion, it is not justifiable to honor students based on their gender. Junior escorts should be chosen solely based on academic performance, not any sort of gender or heteronormative preferences.

 

Works Cited

Angelo, Dana. “I Hope My Daughter Grows Up to Be a Straight, White Male.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 06 Sept. 2016. Web. 24 May 2017.

 

Feldman, Robert S. “Chapter 15/Academic Performance and Stereotype Threat.” Child Development. Boston: Pearson, 2016. 403-04. Print.

 

Ghazvini, Sayid Dabbagh. “Gender Differences in Factors Affecting Academic Performance of High School Students.” Blog post. Gender Differences in Factors Affecting Academic Performance of High School Students – ScienceDirect. ScienceDirect, 10 June 2011. Web. 24 May 2017.

 

Noack, Rick. “Women Are Better than Men at Learning English. That’s Not Necessarily a Good Sign.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 May 2017.

 

Rosario, Seth. “Junior Escorting.” Personal interview. 19 May 2017.

 

Santiago, Sarah. “Junior Escorting.” Personal interview. 19 May 2017.
United States. California. Assembly. Bill Text – AB-23 Educational Programs: Single Gender Schools and Instructional Programs. By Ridley-Thomas. Senator Mitchell, 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 24 May 2017.

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Orcutt Academy High School News and Event
Junior Escorts at Grad?