Participation Trophy Syndrome

A public school district near Louisville, Kentucky has come down with a bad case of what I call “Participation Trophy Syndrome” – or PTS.

The Greater Clark County School Board in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is considering a plan to eliminate the valedictorian system because it creates “unhealthy competition,” according to Supt. Andrew Melin.

Unhealthy competition? Is he serious?

Did a kid suffer a concussion while trying to parse a participle?

“When students are competing for the Val and the Sal, they’re trying to find ways to maneuver through the system to try to get the best grades they can possibly get, as opposed to taking the course work that’s truly in their own best interest,” Supt. Melin told television station WHAS.

For you folks living in a commune in Berkeley, the “Val” is the valedictorian and the “Sal” is the salutatorian.

Now, the superintendent does have a valid point. If the kids are taking easy classes for an easy “A” – well, that’s not right.

But I’m curious about the kinds of courses he thinks the youngsters need to take. Are we talking about useful classes like shop or mechanics? Or is it more along the lines of “The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur” or “Interrogating Gender: Centuries of Dramatic Cross-Dressing”?

So instead of honoring the best and the second-best – the school is considering a plan to honor more kids.

“We’ve got all these great students that work very hard, and become very distinguished in their academic career and we want to be able to recognize more of those students at the end of a given year,” he told the television station.

My diagnosis has been verified, folks.

Clark County does in fact have an infestation of PTS. The school district will discuss the change on Sept. 6 – meaning the disease is only in the incubation stage.

Symptoms of Participation Trophy Syndrome may vary depending on the seriousness of the outbreak. However, most of the infected typically receive a trophy or a gold star.

Parents should also be wary of underage athletic programs. Teams that refuse to keep statistics or scores are more than likely infected.

Supt. Melin told WHAS there is “growing sentiment nationwide” to change the way schools honor academic success.

A school district in Whiteville, North Carolina recently made a similar change. Instead of recognizing two students, they will move to a three-tier Latin honor system.

Wake County, North Carolina opted for the Latin honor system, too, according to the News & Observer. And it also happened in Christian County, Kentucky where kids could earn either cum laude, manga cum laude or summa cum laude.

But even in the Latin honor system, someone still has to be number one, right? So isn’t that person being denied well-deserved honor and accolades?

Public schools are doing a disservice to kids when they try to cushion them from disappointment. In the real world, not everyone comes in first place.

In essence, they are minimizing achievement and teaching kids to aspire to mediocrity. What kind of message does that send to the kids who are trying to do their very best?

Just remember, folks. When everybody is a winner – we’re all losers.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” 

. Here we go again folks. Is this another Dr. Spock fad? Some of you may not be old enough to remember that imbecile. Oh, and remember the more resent fad where we endanger our children by telling them they are wrong. I remember the commercial that went something like this:

Teacher: “Johnny, what is two plus two?

Johnny:  thinks for a minute or two and says: “Five.”

Teacher: “GREAT Johnny, Good Answer, that’s super that you were able to think so hard about that some so close.”

Then my long time friend and shipmate, who was one of three Naval Officers for whom I had great respect when I was sentenced to one year on board the USS Chicago for some obscure reason I have yet to determine, sent me an email in response to the above email from a mutual friend. It’s priceless, and I learned soem things about my shipmate that I did not know.


3 amigos

     Bob, Doug, and Gary Doing what we all            did best, especially in Olongapo, PI



Please forgive the personal reference, but:

In high school, we had National Honor Society (and me in it);

Top 10% (yup, me)

Youth Week with kids “running” for election (fire chief, police chief, mayor (guess who? Me))

Senior students voted stuff for the yearbook (best smile, most athletic, most versatile (me), most dependable (me), most likely to succeed (me, as second most likely)

Club presidents (no, I didn’t much like to join)

Dramatics Award for senior play (me, even though I didn’t join those geeks in the dramatics club)

We had something called Girls and Boys State with 4 chosen to go off to Rutgers University to play at legislative politics junior year (me again).

Anyway, all those offensive selective things bound to cause all the other boys and girls to commit suicide or lead forever traumatized lives!!! Nope, don’t recall that happening!

Bet they have little of this left today.

Our downward spiral, not started with Obummie, but he sure greased the slide.  We are going to leave this earth too late to avoid witnessing this…….


4 thoughts on “Participation Trophy Syndrome”

  1. One unit I served in had a Marine of the Month award….Meritorious Mast. EVERY SINGLE one of them was writing exactly the same. I was disgusted. When I could, I fixed that. If you cannot point to something specific that someone did, then maybe they do not rate special recognition. And…seems like damn near every LtCol whose picture I see has exactly the same awards….a few some more and a few some less. I don’t like it. Is the Corps slowly morphing into the Marine Corps…..awards for everyone?

  2. Okay, Jim, and just for the currently, much valued “transparency”, as I mentioned to you in an email, and now confess to your many readers, I did get a “7” out of 100 on a second term college nuclear physics exam, causing me to drop Chemistry as a major and switch to Psychology. And, I might have cheated on some pushups here and there…….

  3. “competition unhealthy”? I never knew, guess we need to cancel the olympics, basketball, baseball, football, soccer, tennis, horseracing, and any other event that may ruin someone for life.

    1. LOL, you nailed it Gary. What a world (society) we live in today. Every body gets a trophy, award, etc. No winners and no losers. Unbelievable! I wonder what Lombardi would say about that? LOL

Please leave a comment on this post or on any subject; all are appreciated. Thank you and Semper Fi, Jim