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.


mgartner said...

Valerie Smith,

It is clear that you are very deserving of being valedictorian after reading about how successful you have been. You also have a very mature response to the issue with the Myspace pages. I agree that once you post something on your Myspace page it is no longer private. The internet is a very public place. I'm glad to hear that some students feels the same way. There are a lot of other students that don't feel this way. They think that the administration is being extremely unfair, but what they don't realize is that if the administration didn't take action right away this whole scandal would have gotten way too out of control.

You should share your wisdom and thoughts with with your fellow classmates so that more of them will realize that the punishments are fair.

Cecile Calibo
Guidance Councelor

ABarmore said...


You are not that smart. ARE YOU JOKING ME?!? The kids didnt deserve the punishment that they recieved? That is absurd, that is how I know you are only book smart and not common sense smart at all. Its a bummer that you have not been able to enjoy your high school years with your friends. I loved my high school experience.
Drugs and Alcohol have become a way of high school and it is wrong. The kids need to realize that us as teachers know whats going on. Once those private pictures go public the school is able to get those kids into trouble. It is Fair Game!

Ty Longby

Brandon K. said...

Hey valerie, I like your views, but also I don't think that the students should have been punished at all. You stated that it is their own private life, and if they makeit public, they still should not get punished, unless they admit it. Its just that people can now be victimized now because people can show photos of people they dislike, to get them in trouble.

LaurenVann said...


I sounds like you are on the right track toward becoming a very well-rounded woman. Your successes will take you far in life. However, I urge you to take some time to sick back and relax. It seems like you consume all your time with striving to get in to the best school or get the best grades. Life isn't about grades. Sure, it's important to do well in school but it's also important to have friends and be able to have a social life where you can relax and have a good time. Enough with my tangent but I do agree with you in that the students responsible in this scandal should be punished. You did bring up a good point about the severity of the punishment. I never really considered that perhaps this punishment may be too severe. Anyway, good luck if your future. You will go far!
Edna Quiggle

Ryan Vaudreuil said...

It's really too bad that you never have time to have a social life or a boyfriend. You would think a cute girl like youself would be hanging out with the cool guys like me. We should go to a party sometime and maybe you will change your mind about this whole issue. It is not the school's job to punish kids for doing things outside of school. So this Friday works for me, I'll pick you up around 8.
-Joe Hyland