Monday, May 19, 2008
Valerie Smith- Valedictorian
Hello! My name is Valerie Smith and I am currently a senior at Grand Heights. I am the valedictorian of the senior class and take great pride in the school. I spend the majority of my time studying, but I save time to participate in student council and track. I have been a long distance runner since middle school. Running is the personal time I have to reflect or just forget about all the stresses of school. Besides my school activities I am involved in church and donate my time to serving the community.
My entire life I have been told that my education is the most important thing in this life. Both of my parents are significantly smart and have been my motivating force for many years. As soon as i went to high school and realized that I could graduate as the valedictorian I made that my goal of my high school years. I left minimal time for extracurriculars, but enough to have some for college applications. I studied for hours to take AP exams, the ACT and SAT, and participate in the Honors program at Grand Heights. I have found that I have gotten the most out of my education here at school, but now that it is time for grad parties I am feeling less than important. I haven't spend any time on the social aspect of high school. I have never gone to a party or had a boyfriend. I am part of no cliques and I spend lunch in the library. I don't regret spending all of my time studying because I know that I can make real friends in college. I have never been a member of Myspace, but I recently created a Facebook page and learned about interesting aspects of my classmates lives.
I didn't realize that such a high percentage of high school students are using drugs and alcohol. I knew that there are parties pretty often, but I saw hundreds of pictures of kids I see everyday at school drinking beer and smoking. After hearing about what happened to the students who were punished at Grand Heights I decided to research the topic. I found a recent story about kegger pictures being posted on Myspace. These students were arrested for illegally using substances and the article warns kids not to post pictures that could get them into trouble. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect students to keep pictures of them using illegal substances off their online pages. If they don't want to get into any trouble with the school or the law they should realize that certain pictures should not be posted and it is something they have control over.
I think that the students at Grand Heights maybe didn't deserve the severity of the punishment they received, but I don't think that it is unreasonable for them to get in trouble for having inappropriate parts of their life online. I believe that anything that happens in a person's private life should be their personal business and a right that they have to do what makes them happy. I also think that when someone's private life becomes public, via the internet, then it is no longer their personal life. Anything that a student voluntarily puts online should know that there might and probably will be consequences for it. I think it was necessary for Grand Heights to punish the students in order to keep a positive school reputation. Going through the lockers of students and punishing a former student was too much, but the school needed to do something to keep up the school's reputation.