Following new requirements for Scholastic Banquet eligibility, CHS community assesses academically competitive school culture


Jackie Hur

Special Speakers: Timothy Dixon, Principal’s Advisory Board member and senior, speaks at the Scholastic Banquet on April 16, 2018. To qualify for the Scholastic Banquet in the 2018-2019 school year, seniors must have a cumulative GPA of 4.4 or higher.

Rhea Acharya

Recently, the PTO changed the requirements a student needs to meet to be invited to the Scholastic Banquet, which is scheduled for April 15. Until this year, the administration invited the top 3 percent of students based on their cumulative GPA, but this year, as they are introducing cut-off GPAs; a student’s GPA must now be above a certain cut-off for his or her grade level in order for the student to be able to attend. Additionally, starting this year, the PTO decided not to invite freshmen to the banquet.

Assistant Principal Amy Skeens-Benton said, “We knew that changes needed to be made a while back. What was interesting to us is that a group of AP students who had attended the banquet had shared with some of their AP teachers that they felt (the selection process) was unfair because it was a constantly moving target. It actually pitted (students) against one another, and they felt their academic accomplishments should be based on what they’ve done and not necessarily what someone didn’t do or did do.”

In contrast, Top Scholar and senior Joey Heerens said he thinks the changes inhibit motivation to get higher grades.

Michelle Lu

He said, “It has kind of taken away the fact that with top 3 percent when you put it at a fixed cutoff instead, you now have this thing where everyone now chases only one goal or one thing rather than just being in a certain percentile of the class. When you are just chasing one fixed goal to be accomplished, you are not going to be as motivated to be above it.”

Skeens-Benton said the decision to not include freshmen was made because some students who went to middle schools with honors programs would have higher GPAs coming into freshman year, which could inflate their GPAs as freshman eligibility for the banquet was determined based on one semester of high school and any high school credits they earned in middle school.

Melinda Stephan, college and career coordinator, said these changes are in line with the school’s long-lasting decision not to rank students. She said, “At a school like CHS, you can have a 4.0 (GPA) and over and not even be in the top 10 percent of your class, so if we were so focused on the ranking it would actually detract from the student’s application or overall profile.”

“There’s no desire to take away recognition from students,” Stephan added. “It’s more about approaching it from maybe a more healthy perspective. I think we see a lot of very stressed students, and if there are small steps we can take to sort of alleviate some of that stress, it’s a win-win.”