Singapore American School is an institution of high-quality learning and with summer vacation creeping nearer, like any school, it is about time to honor our seniors. This year SAS has hit a high for the number of students accepted into ‘Ivy League’ schools in the United States. This is impressive, yet the nature of how we outwardly express our pride towards these seniors troubles me.
The nature in which students celebrate college acceptance at school is a very interesting culture to pick apart. This often comes in the form of wearing a sweater from a confirmed university and posting announcements on Facebook. Some will use photoshop to make ‘memes’ of their friends along with college mascots and logos to post on social media. After SAS students get accepted into a college or university they become a so-called ‘Second Semester Senior’. If you are unfamiliar with SSS or Senioritis, watch this video. A Senior has the right to outwardly express their confirmation into university in many ways and, when it comes down to it, is just a way to celebrate. I have no problem with this.
But wait a second. What happens to the seniors who have to wait longer than their peers to receive acceptance letters? Those who don’t have university sweaters to traipse around wearing? What about the Seniors who don’t get accepted into their top choices?
SAS is very proud of the extremely small percentage whom will attend an Ivy League next fall, and for a good reason. While we only outwardly see those who have somewhere to study after they graduate, there are those who undergo a different experience.
Denial and rejection is unheard of. Or, at least, unpublicized.
In a large world perspective, a SAS student has received a solid enough education to get into college, though it may not be an ivy league. The short-sightedness that students often possess restricts them from seeing that they are intelligent and well resourced enough to pave their path in the world, whether it is college or not. Not everyone gets into Harvard and that is ok! Life goes on.
University acceptance is a big deal in every school setting. However, as an observer of the ritual that this school undergoes every spring, ask yourself this: What is the right way to celebrate something, appropriately and modestly? What is the best way for an institution to express their pride towards both their highest achievers and their equally-successful graduates going on to greatness in less recognizable forms? How does a community instill a ‘big-picture’ mindset in order to nurture minds that realize that life is long and full of opportunity?
I do not know the answer to these questions. But mere ‘bragging rights’ is not an excuse.