Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quest column by Dale Flowers


Dale @ 2008 U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh
This is the time of year we think about honoring students. We see proud parents and coaches standing behind an outstanding student / athlete who is receiving a scholarship to continue the student’s sports career at a higher level. This is fantastic, and the student has earned the honor that is being received.

Question - where are the pictures of students who are receiving academic and service scholarships ? Twice a month, and always once a month, the civic organization I attend honors students for academic achievements. Recently one of the students had to choose between Yale and Washington and Lee. The other student had to choose between Notre Dame, a couple of ivy league schools, and decided on UT (University of Tennessee). There are students from our local high schools that are going to attend multiple colleges on a “full ride.” Many will receive partial scholarships. They will be mentioned at their graduation, but often in a list of students that have received the honor. They will receive a spattering of polite applause while they stand.

Do we ever wonder why there is a major problem of motivating our youth to seek academic achievements ? We put pictures in the paper of athletic achievements while students who are competing in world competitions in robotics receive only a passing mention. Students have received national honors with no recognition. We read about the top three students in each class, and that is about it. We push our children in athletics, which is a good thing because goodness knows schools ignore the need for physical exercise, as well as spiritual exercise. Parents push and praise athletics, but not the “wimpy” “geeks” in the art, music, engineering, industrial arts, and other areas. Yet, it is not uncommon for the band, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), or FFA (Future Farmers of America) to produce more students with scholarships than all the athletic teams combined.

I am not anti-athletics. They are a valuable asset to the school in multiple ways. They work hard and lay it on the line on a regular basis for all to see their mistakes as well as their successes. They deserve recognition. It would just be nice to see academic achievement be promoted as much as athletic achievement. It is ironic that coaches are fantastic promoters of academics.

What chance do the teachers have when the man the student admires the most is always talking about sports figures. Little boys are encouraged to play sports at an early age so that they can get a scholarship. If parents put as much effort into promoting academic excellence as they often do sports perhaps the students would get the message.

We can not blame the teachers. Teachers need help. It would help them greatly if the students came to them already motivated to learn.

Dale C. Flowers
P.O. Box 904
Hendersonville, TN 37077

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