The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Column: Why we are leaving GT

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Grace Nguyen
“Through high school, the GT program has slowly changed the way it responds to our different thinking, as they identified in us at an early age, and instead sprinkle us with extra curriculum to cater to our supposed needs to excel.”

We had such high hopes. Administration told us from a young age that we were special. We were gifted. As if our peers weren’t…

But that was what we were raised to believe.

So when we graduated middle school and special became different, the Gifted and Talented program had disappointed us.

We were foreign to the rest of our peers, and we were held to seemingly impossible expectations.

And so after seven years in the GT program, we, sophomores Lily Hager and Benjamin Nopper, do not hesitate to walk away.

Our elementary and middle school experience in these special education classes were filled with excitement. We started blogs, created brochures about times we could never live in, and even built kites to fly.

Through high school, the GT program has slowly changed the way it responds to our different thinking, as they identified in us at an early age, and instead sprinkle us with extra curriculum to cater to our supposed needs to excel.

The kids inducted into GT have since then grown up into a real world of GPA competition, college planning, and career opportunities. We don’t desire a board game project. We desire to succeed in a competitive world.

While providing a Gifted and Talented program can have a positive impact on students’ learning experiences, there is no incentive for one to enroll in the program anymore. High school GT students miss out on deserved recognition.

There is no GPA benefit.

Although teachers should not change class curriculum for GT classes, the program continues to force GT students to learn additional content and take formative assessments not required of other students. The result is a class rank system which places students with extra curriculum and those on the regular track in the same scale, putting the GT student at a disadvantage.

The Lovejoy GT philosophy states, “Identified gifted and talented students demonstrate abilities in original and creative thinking, exceptionally high achievement, and are self-directed learners.”

This philosophy itself has been lost over the years. Some miscommunication or blatant lack of understanding has resulted in GT classes checking the boxes of “creative thinking” with extra quizzes and tests. They believe they encourage “self-directed” learning by avoiding answering questions. They think their hands-off style and “encouraging” phrases about what makes us think so “outside the box” stretch our minds and expand our capabilities.

In reality, they are building self-importance and pride in an already self-entitled generation. It is twisted to believe that GT students are somehow better than others. Yet there is this egotistic impression many GT students have that they couldn’t handle being in a regular class. The students are too good for that.

Of course they believe that. The GT program has told them so.

Because these GT students were combined in sixth grade when all three of the district’s elementary schools converged, kids have been in the same classes for years, which makes learning especially dysfunctional.

These kids have shared the same classes for so long that they are trapped in their own social bubble. And speaking from personal experience, once you’re in that bubble, it’s extremely difficult to fit in when you’re inevitably thrown outside of that clique.

There’s value in the isolation when we are young. Our crazy thinking eggs each other on. It’s exciting for a kid to be around minds who think alike.

But we’ve grown up.

We live in a competitive world during a time in our lives where we begin to diverge into different career paths and beliefs. Some teachers lost the value of a GT class, instead believing they satisfy these special students with more curriculum and homework.

For the program to offer benefits to students, it must undergo changes. But since it hasn’t, it is at this point that we say goodbye, Gifted and Talented.

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About the Contributors
Lily Hager, Editor-In-Chief
With the coming of her fourth and final year of high school, Lily Hager eagerly awaits the senior perks that accompany all who suffer from “senioritis”–including off periods, senior overalls and dual credit. Her freshman, sophomore and junior years were occupied by marching band, newspaper, several AP classes and leadership positions (including being drum major of the band and editor in chief of The Red Ledger junior year). Hager thrives any day that involves journaling, bible studies, time spent with friends or family, and ice cream. Her time at home is largely spent in her room, which she so carefully designed for the past several years into a safe haven. She fills her (rare) free time by cleaning, writing, reading, planning or talking (whether that be to her parents, her friends or her pet bunny, Boots). Despite her burning excitement for college at A&M, she is committed to enjoying her last year as an editor, conducting her last show, and living her last year in her childhood home. Last, but not least, she is certain to take advantage of one last year of writing, editing, and loving TRL.
Benjamin Nopper, Section Editor
 After joining staff and becoming an editor his sophomore year, Benjamin Nopper is enthusiastic to spend his senior year in the newsroom he considers to be his home away from home. Benjamin walked into room E103 two years ago feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of the unknown‒writing for an award-winning publication without much previous experience. Hundreds of articles and dozens of close relationships later, he now understands that writing enables an individual to have a meaningful impact in his community. A disciple of his former boss, Nick Smith, Nopper retains his position as sports editor for the third consecutive year while also contributing as an opinion writer. However, if it were up to him, he would run his own satire department. Outside of the newsroom, Nopper plays baseball and serves as an FCA leader. Nopper is also a member of Student Council, NHS and Spanish Club. He enjoys embarking adventures with his three dogs, spending afternoons on the golf course, and feeding his unhealthy coffee obsession. Nopper also loves to watch Impractical Jokers, the show that admittedly inspires some of his lighthearted interactions with his friends. Upon graduating, Nopper intends to study business and eventually attend law school.
Grace Nguyen, Section Editor
Fueled daily by three iced vanilla coffees, standing at 5’2”, Grace Nguyen will walk into the E103 door with no problem. Grace is entering senior year, and the only reason she is believed to have survived high school is because of the napping couch in the photography studio. During her time on staff, Grace has been to almost every football game, win or loss, and wouldn’t have changed a thing. Yes, Grace has been tackled by football players, run over by coaches, and body slammed by referees. Nonetheless, Grace will confidently walk on the field this year, bruises and all, alongside her sideline media team. Stepping outside the newsroom, which is rare, Grace enjoys playing softball, hanging out with family and friends, and finding excuses to go to every $3 Pazookie Tuesdays at BJ’s. After high school, Grace hopes to pursue a career in sports photojournalism, so watch out for her still getting run over by athletes on ESPN in the years to come. Although it’s bittersweet to leave newspaper upon graduation, Grace is thankful for all the opportunities that she’s had on staff. Through The Red Ledger, Grace created long-lasting friendships and won a lot of awards that she never imagined was possible. Grace hopes that current and future staffers will think of this national-award-winning publication the same way as she did–a second family and their home away from home.

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  • B

    Brandon KofahlMay 15, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Class rank is determined by an unweighted GPA, meaning that all classes are the same, so by weighting GT classes your rank wouldn’t change. AP classes don’t change your class rank, so why should GT?

    Reply
  • A

    A GT UpperclassmanMay 14, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    We acknowledge your article, yet want to state that you should, perhaps, consider these other perspectives.

    Although you believe that GT isolates students, there are opportunities to meet a variety of people. For example, Lovejoy has plenty of extracurricular activities that students can participate in. There are clubs, sports, and a variety of fine arts classes, including theater, art, choir, band, and orchestra. These classes could be taken in order to gain the required credit and experience. Furthermore, there are AP classes that are not GT; for example, AP Seminar and AP Art history combine GT and non-GT students. It is also a personal decision to socialize solely with GT students. Throughout the years of middle school and high school, there are plenty of people to meet, and, if you only make friends with GT students, that is clearly a choice. Nobody is holding you back from this so-called isolation, which doesn’t really exist if you have a class of more than one person. It’s not like there’s only one elite GT student per grade. GT is a separate classification for many students, probably about 20% of a graduating class.

    On competition, we understand competition exists in GT classes, as well as in Lovejoy overall. Sometimes, this can be overwhelming, but you make the choice to sign up for classes every year. To some degree, competition prepares you for life, because you’re going to meet people who are smarter than you, and you’re going to meet people who aren’t. Competition helps you manage stress as long as there isn’t too much, and, again, you know yourself best. If you really hate how many GT or AP classes you’re enrolled in, just drop out or don’t sign up.

    Classes are supposed to challenge you, which is why certain students are put in GT courses. You have to prove that you’re up to the challenge, and this is speaking from experience: non-GT classes can be dull if you are accustomed to obstacles and if your classes demand creativity. Non-GT classes are not some sort of upgrade, where you’re sure to make 100 and get that GPA boost you so dearly desire. Sure, you may have an easier time getting straight A’s, but this may come at the cost of learning opportunities. When you apply to colleges, they want to see that you have taken rigorous classes and have tried your hardest. If you only have relatively easy courses on your transcript, they may question your willingness or ability to work hard and persevere. (Some colleges consider GT as an honors tier.)

    Though some GT classes require extra work of their students, this is usually not busy work; it’s supposed to enhance your learning and understanding of the curriculum. Dropping out of all GT classes at once may leave you extremely isolated, as you have made many friends in your GT classes. Also, it’s likely you’ll be bored if you change from completely GT to completely non-GT classes within one year, especially as you are rising juniors trying to show colleges just how smart and prepared you are.

    We’re not telling you to change your minds, because this is 100% your personal decision. We’re simply offering new perspectives for you to consider, as GT students ourselves.

    Reply