Five nervous students gather into history teacher Anne-Marie Steppling’s classroom for their Patriot Ambassador interview. Each one of the students takes a seat at a desk and prepares for the questions they will be asked. The ambassador sponsors, Steppling, and Spanish teacher Meredith Lange, sit down and get ready. Senior ambassadors, Steppling, and Lange begin the interviews.
Patriot Ambassadors is a leadership organization composed of students selected for their dedication to service, leadership, scholarship, and citizenship. The process of becoming a Patriot Ambassador can seem surrounded in mystery, causing some students to question if the process is fair.
This year more freshmen were accepted than sophomores. However, when a person is being evaluated to become an ambassador, the decision is not based on grade level. Each student must complete the application by the deadline. If the application is done well, that person will be invited for an interview. After the student gets invited to have an interview, they are evaluated by a select group of teachers in the building. Steppling and Lange make their decision based on the applications, interviews, and other teachers’ thoughts on that person.
A Patriot Ambassador will be in a lot of different situations where they will need to be comfortable speaking in front of and to other people. They must also be welcoming and friendly. “I am looking for a student who makes eye contact, speaks in a loud voice, and shows they will be comfortable speaking in many different situations,” Steppling said.
Steppling does not believe there is anything unfair about this process. If a student did not get in this year, they are welcome to try again next year. “I hope students will learn something from the process and try again,” Steppling said.
All students go through the same process in order to become an ambassador. “I understand the process and believe that each student is given an equal and fair chance,” Vice President Gabe Pollack said.
One student, freshman Kelly Baldwin, felt the process was unfair. “I had a good application, a good interview, and I still did not get in,” Baldwin said.
Sophomore Sami Haendler did not get into the Patriot Ambassadors her freshman year but she did get in her sophomore year. Some students do not understand how on one year they do not get it and the next year they get it. “I did exactly the same thing in my interview but I got in this year and not last, but I was thrilled to get in this year,” Haendler said.
Freshman Jamie Stern did not get into the Patriot Ambassadors this year and also thought the process was not fair. “The interview process does not allow you to show off your true leadership abilities,” Stern said.