Academic awards case would honor merit of clubs

Common Sense Editorial

Students at this school who attend state and national competitions with academic clubs can vouch for the fact that preparing for a high-level competition takes hours of preparation. The students’ hard work earns them trophies, certificates, plaques, and medals. However, there isn’t a designated place to showcase their achievements. Should there be an awards case for the awards academic clubs earn?

People claim that this school has space for no more than it already contains. The narrow hallways hold lockers, athletic and science awards display cases, water fountains, and from 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., a multitude of students running from one class to the next.

The lack of space causes people to argue that there shouldn’t be an addition of an academic club awards case. Senior Arnav Patra thinks that the school building has plenty of space, for him it’s just a question of prioritization. “There are, for example, trophy cases for nonexistent clubs such as equestrianism while academic clubs do not have similar recognition,” Patra said.

Another argument is that this school acknowledges academic clubs and their achievements enough. The addition of an awards case would do no more than take space in the building.

The argument doesn’t consider the opinions of the students who win the awards in question. Patra, who is a part of Quiz Bowl and Model United Nations, two clubs that have earned countywide and national competitions and conferences, claims that academic clubs lack support from external sources such as a Booster club. “For example, in the Commons you see banners for sports achievements, while I support athletic accomplishments, they are held publicly higher than academic clubs,” Patra said.

This school should display academic club awards in a designated case to recognize the students’ talents and to value academics as it does sports and athletic ability. Students work hard to expand their knowledge and to bring honor to this school, and they should reap the benefits of their hard work.

Junior Aashna Singh, who is the Director of Operations of this school’s Model United Nations team, claims that students who are a part of the club go out of their way to understand international relations and to tackle real-life problems. The club has received over 30 individual awards at its various conferences this year, and has been awarded best large delegation two of them. Unfortunately, none of the awards are displayed. “Students have this inherent desire to learn more about the way that foreign policy works. There is a lack of appreciation of how much we do. For it to be recognized would be amazing,” Singh said.

The school’s Quiz Bowl team spends hours practicing after school, holds regular team lunch practices, and members individually study their specialized topics by way of flashcards and online study sessions. The team has won Varsity Middle Bracket Champions History Bowl Nationals 2017, Top 20 National History Bowl Nationals 2018 and Top 50 National History Bowl 2019, to name a few. It is another academic club whose awards don’t have a permanent place to be showcased.

Unsurprisingly, the clubs’ sponsors are having a hard time finding a place for the awards their students are winning. The Quiz Bowl team has given their plaques for temporary display in the main office, while Model UN’s large delegation awards are in their sponsor’s room. “We’ve struggled with where to put History Bowl won awards. There isn’t a designated place to put the trophies,” science teacher and Quiz Bowl sponsor Brett Bentley said.

School administrators need to find space in the school for the academic clubs’ awards. Principal Kimberly Boldon doesn’t have an immediate idea of where she thinks the awards should be displayed, but she has an idea of how the problem can be solved. “I would be up for a committee. We have to think about where students are, and where a good designated area would be to place the awards,” Boldon said.

7 of 7 members of the editorial board agree

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