Wednesday, 4 January 2012

There is a "merit" list

in the paper this morning - for the Year 12 students who achieved "perfect" scores in any subject in their final year certificates.
I am never too sure about the wisdom of such lists. It is, of course, nice for those who have done well and they do deserve recognition for the effort they have put in.
There are also other students who have put in equal (or more) effort and still failed to achieve perfect scores. I always hope at least one other person will acknowledge they have done well.
This time I know several students whose names appear in the merit list. They all deserve to be there.
One of them is particularly extraordinary. She deserves to be there but she should not be there. Her medical history has been the subject of more than one academic article. A great deal of her early life was spent in hospital. Her diet was, and still is, limited. She will always need to give extra care and attention to that and a range of medical issues. Her energy is limited.
I have known her since she was three years old. Two years later her mother sought help from me when no school would take a child with so many medical issues. She was taught at home until a fee paying school with a nurse always present because of a large number of boarders agreed to accept her. Even then she missed a lot of school because of medical issues. Her parents kept her education up in hospital and at home. They encouraged and never suggested she was not doing well enough and she worked hard.
She rewarded them and herself with four merit scores and a score just below that. Her parents are delighted and, although still very shy, she greeted me with more confidence than I had ever seen when her results came out.
Now her merit scores are public knowledge and I hope there will be many more people who will tell her "well done". While I still have some doubts about them this is one student who may really benefit from such a list - and there may be others.


JO said...

I share your concern about merit lists - though can see that this lass will be hugely encouraged by the recognition.

When my husband died I awarded a prize at my daughters' schools - the only proviso that it be for a child who could never expect a prize in any other field. At last - some recognition for the efforts of children with learning difficulties. But I still worry about all the others who struggle along without anyone to praise their efforts.

catdownunder said...

My father used to insist on prizes being given "for effort" as well as the traditional things - unfortunately not everyone liked that idea.