Adding more to the school profile

Sophie Haber

Community, excellence and joy — as a student ambassador, I’m told to represent the school and its mission in all of its facets. I am told that the theater is to be shown with the same enthusiasm as the science labs and the athletic field.  A prospective student with a particular interest in debate is ensured that they will have access to incredible resources, just as the distinguished basketball player will.

While the school prioritizes all types of activities, the school profile does not showcase them equally. At a school where students can strive for greatness in any area of interest, the school profile only reflects greatness with regard to textbooks and playbooks. The school profile details student demographics, available Advanced Placement classes, standardized test results, college placement, finances and faculty education, but does not outline extracurricular achievements other than those of the athletic program.

While CIF performances are an important aspect of the school’s culture, dance performances are too. Although the joyful pursuit of educational excellence often feels limited to areas that can be tracked by numbers and letters, there is so much more to it than what we can measure.  Students can achieve excellence in the studio, at an ethics bowl tournament and in a foreign country doing community service.

Last year, Downbeat magazine, a publication for professional musicians, awarded members of the jazz band for Outstanding Performance and Best Composition. They were also one of six groups in their category to be invited to the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, according to its website, which only accepts groups with a superior or first division rating. Eight student debaters competed in the National Tournament of Champions last year for Lincoln-Douglas, a prestigious tournament that only accepts 100 debaters from across the nation.

Over one hundred students received Scholastic Art and Writing awards last year, fourteen of which earned awards on the national level.  Model UN members receive high titles, including Outstanding Speaker and Best Delegate awards, at conventions across the country. Why are these achievements not featured on the school profile? With incredible artists, writers and engineers, the school not only allows but also encourages all students to pursue their passions to a high level.

By not highlighting other achievements, the school profile neither accurately represents the breadth of student talent nor the faculty’s commitment to excellence in many disciplines. In Viewpoint’s school profile, classes like advanced robotics and filmmaking classes are given emphasis.  With a school profile that reflects the diverse interests of the student body, prospective applicants can understand a more accurate representation of the school and current students can take pride in their accomplishments, knowing that their school celebrates all of their achievements.

Going forward, it would benefit the community if the depth of student achievements at school was reflected to the public through its profile. Two more bold words and a few bullet points is worth the space to show appreciation for and give legitimacy to the many programs that allow the school to be a place of community, excellence and joy.