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A Poll About "Accomlishments," Just Because I'm Curious


How about your high schooler?  

56 members have voted

  1. 1. My high schooler has:

    • earned an award or attained a similar accomplishment at a national level.
      23
    • earned an award or attained a simlar accomplishment at a state level.
      17
    • earned an award or attained a simlar accomplishment at a county/district level.
      14
    • earned an award or attained a smilar accomplishment at a local/school level.
      20
    • not really earned that kind of award.
      15


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I was driving my son to his dual enrollment class this morning, listening to our local NPR affiliate. It was a locally-produced program, and the host was interviewing a couple of high schoolers who have won a writing contest and are having their short stories included in an anthology published by a local non-profit. I was thinking how articulate and interesting the kids were, when the host mentioned their full names . . . and I realized I knew one of them. Not well, obviously, since I didn't recognize her voice or know about this achievement. But the family belongs to the church I attended until a couple of years ago, and I know her parents and taught her occasionally in the church's religious education program.

 

This came on the heels of seeing friends post celebratory messages on Facebook last weekend about a couple of other kids we know earning high ratings at the choir competition in our local school district, which qualifies them to move on to the state level.

 

My own kids have done some noteworthy things, too. And it seems like a lot of the kids we know are getting recognized for various accomplishments during their high school years.

 

It got me to wondering whether this is just a common thing?

 

So, I'd love it if you all wouldn't mind answering my poll? I think I set it to make answers anonymous. There's a certain amount of wiggle room in the definitions. For example, my son earned a silver medal for the National Mythology Exam. It has the word "national" in it, but I don't know that I would consider it "an award at the national level." Feel free to use your judgment, answering in whatever way makes the most sense to you. I set it to allow multiple choice. So, feel free to check multiple answers for one kid or answer for each of your children.

 

I'm not, by the way, looking for reasons to feel superior or anything like that. It's more than I'm wondering if there are just so many different kinds of awards and competitions out there that most of these things are actually pretty meaningless. (I'm thinking of that line from The Incredibles about finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity.)

 

Anyway, just random curiosity on a Tuesday afternoon . . .

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None of my kids have shown any interest in competing in anything since 4th grade. So, no awards of the kind you mentioned.

I don't count ribbons at horse shows. Those she has plenty. (btw, shows are the one aspect of riding DD does not really enjoy.)

 

I would call NMSF or NMF a national award.  :thumbup1:

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I would call NMSF or NMF a national award.  :thumbup1:

 

Good point - I completely forgot that one. (Not sure what that says about me)

So, gotta change my answer; thanks for the reminder. I somehow connected the word "award" with winning math, science, essay, music, or athletic competitions...

 

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Does she continue to do the shows? My daughter doesn't enjoy the shows either, but feels somewhat obligated to do them. I've been wondering how others handle this.

 

She rides in the minimum number of shows required to maintain USEF Highschool Athlete status. Her trainer is very understanding and not really pushy; DD has been riding with her for six years, so she knows DD's personality quite well. Our barn is rather relaxed, and the culture more focused on learning and community than on winning trophies at fancy shows. At another facility, it might be a problem.

 

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We purposely sought out competitions because we feel that putting together a project is extremely beneficial to the kids and if they win, it helps them to stand out as exceptional when they are applying to college.

 

We aim for our kids to have at least one national level award in addition to NMF and National AP Scholar. So far, they've been quite successful!   Dd24 was a finalist in an essay contest sponsored by the National Council of Humanities (one of four nationally), Ds22 was fourth in his category at ISEF (they give lots of prizes, so that's not as impressive as it sounds) and was an Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist.  He was also a three-time USAMO qualifier.  Dd21 was a Young Epidemiology Scholars finalist and 7th nationally at National History Day.  Ds19 was second in computer science at ISEF as a junior and second in biochem as a senior.  He was also third nationally in the Siemens Competition.

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finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity

This quote amuses the cynic in me.

 

We put together an athletic brochure to market ds to college coaches.  We had the hardest time coming up with accomplishments/awards.  I truly believe that if ds was in PS, he would have a slew of awards.  About the only thing I think I can use in your poll is that he was on the President's Honor List at CC in 11th and 12 grade.

 

He has some basketball awards:

- 9th grade Most Valuable Player on JV team

- 10th grade Most Improved Player on Varsity team

- 10th grade Varsity team won District, Region, and went to State (1st time in 40yrs), but lost in semi-finals.  Ds was 6th man so not even a starter

- All the teammates who went to state got "Sunshine Ambassador" awards from the city mayor

- 11th grade Varsity team won District, lost Regional finals

- AAU team had some state runner-ups and he was a starter

 

I don't think of these as especially noteworthy, but maybe that's because I'm a girl, not very competitive, and not really a sports fan.  I'm sure dh would disagree with me.  I guess I could count 11th grade district championship for something because ds was a starter.  I don't know that I could claim state.

 

Interesting thread.  I find the poll results fascinating.  Now, I want to know what all these National and State awards are....

 

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I had been feeling some pressure about this for a couple of years, then, I am not sure exactly what shifted for me, but it did and I no longer give it a thought.

 

We have kids who are not at all competitive.  Our sons are not interested in sports.  Our kids are highly motivated, more than most I know their ages, but they are absolutely not motivated by awards, trophies, or recognition.  Despite that, I am the lucky mom who NEVER has to ask my kids to do their work, and we work at least 8 hours a day on school.  They are not lazy by any stretch, they are just more internally motivated than externally, and I think this can vary a lot from home to home.  There is no right or wrong with this at all, it's just different.

 

We have a black belt in TaeKownDo, and four more who will complete it as well. Other than the Dairy Queen offered that night, there was nothing at all that was a big deal about it other than the chance to know something had been accomplished that was hard.  All the kids received an award from our local food bank for volunteering, and it was not something that they got all puffed up about, they just enjoy being there and thought it was nice to be recognized but not that big of a deal.

 

I think their own successes are enough for them, and perhaps in particular for our kids, who struggle with multiple challenges, that is enough.  Learning English well, learning to read at 12 years old, being able to get up and speak well in front of others is hard work, and succeeding at that is like winning an award.  We continue to offer opportunities, as we know over time any one of them could change, but we just get looked at as if to say, "How do I not hurt mom's feelings and tell her I could care less?"...so we let our kids lead on this one.

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I think how you answer the question not only depends on your kid (as discussed above) but also the extracurriculars they are involved in. Some EC's come with lots of potential for awards, and some come with little.

 

For example, community theater doesn't come with awards, but it is a wonderful activity!

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My now college graduate had few awards during high school.  She was a National Merit commended scholar.  She won a few National Latin Exam honors, and she won some ribbons at the County Fair in photography. 

 

One of the things she did during high school that was interesting (in a non-award sense) was work summers at an organic farm run by the local food bank.  The farm was staffed by low income and at-risk youth.  Her first summer she worked as a member of the crew, the second summer she was a crew leader, and her third summer she co-managed their farm stand.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I didn't vote. My only high schooler is in 9th this year, and I'll have another one in 9th next year. I expect DS will have his Boy Scout Eagle by graduation, and that DD will have the equivalent in AHG. They both have umpteen service hours racked up (5-15 a month at a minimum), and will continue to amass more every year. They might start competing in swim later this year, but it would be just for fun; swimming isn't a passion for either of them.

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...Now, I want to know what all these National and State awards are....

 

Well, neither DS here is that competitive in traditional award-things, either. No national awards, BUT, we did have what I counted as state awards in the form of:

- getting to go to State Tennis Tournament (knocked out in 2nd round, but, hey, got to go!)

- leadership award earned at the state Youth & Government mock legislation event

 

I would think people should count completion of a NaNoWriMo project as a national accomplishment...

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Ds has completed NaNoWriMo twice and was "commended" for National Merit (missed the cut off by 3 points) and was a Varsity letterman for 3 years (baseball). Dd1 at the end of this year will qualify for USA Swimming Scholastic All-America team in at least two events (on the bubble for 3 more).

 

But we don't really enter any of the more academic competitions. No interest here. And I agree with Gwen, some interests will generate more awards than others.

 

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Just curious -- should you list on a transcript/college application those awards won as part of a team/group effort? DS16 participates in our public school's marching band, and they have won quite a few awards at the regional/state level. Does this count (both for the poll and for inclusion on college applications)?

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Just curious -- should you list on a transcript/college application those awards won as part of a team/group effort? DS16 participates in our public school's marching band, and they have won quite a few awards at the regional/state level. Does this count (both for the poll and for inclusion on college applications)?

 

I believe your child should list this accomplishment on his college application.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Older son got into the NZ math olympiad summer program this year, which is for the top 24 high school math students in the country. However NZ's population is only 4.5 million, so more like a state award from the point of view of an american, so I didn't vote. Now if he makes it to the International Math Olympiad one day, then we can talk.

 

Ruth in NZ

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Just curious -- should you list on a transcript/college application those awards won as part of a team/group effort? DS16 participates in our public school's marching band, and they have won quite a few awards at the regional/state level. Does this count (both for the poll and for inclusion on college applications)?

 

Definitely! And -- congrats on the awards! :)

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Just curious -- should you list on a transcript/college application those awards won as part of a team/group effort? DS16 participates in our public school's marching band, and they have won quite a few awards at the regional/state level. Does this count (both for the poll and for inclusion on college applications)?

 

Yes, I would list it in the application - but not on the transcript. There will be sections in the application asking about extracurriculars and awards.

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