Ragsdale Band and Orchestra students have been busy helping in the community this winter; this is probably our busiest time of year for service. Students performed at the salvation army kettles this past December and created some extra attention and spirit for the organization.
The Band has also increased ties to the Greene School and has given performances and tutorial sessions for those students. The staff at the Greene School have been very helpful showing our students with the best ways to assist students with special needs. Alyssa and Tyana have graciously headed up the Noble Hours division of the band. Please see them if you'd like to participate in any of our community performances. Discussion of altruism and college admissions remains a topic among educators. Here is one of most recent articles:
In this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Eric Hoover reports on the trend among college admissions officers to put more emphasis on meaningful community service versus students submitting long lists of AP courses and extracurricular activities. The “Turning the Tide” campaign [see item #2 in Marshall Memo 621] issued a manifesto earlier this year saying, “The admissions process can counteract a narrow focus on personal success and promote in young people a greater appreciation of others and the common good.” Rod Skinner, director of college counseling at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, welcomes the shift. “There’s a real developmental opportunity in this process, if it’s done right,” he says. “How do we help our kids manage this madness, and how do we raise good kids?” Richard Weissbourd, author of the “Turning the Tide” paper, says, “The issue here is getting over yourself… College admissions, for many kids, is the only sort of rite of passage in adolescence where they are in conversations with adults, about what colleges value, what society values. It just seems like a potential opportunity, a leverage point.” The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s admissions office was inspired to add a mandatory essay prompt: “At MIT, we seek to develop in each member of our community the ability and passion to work collaboratively for the betterment of humankind. How have you improved the lives of others in your community?” Weissbourd and others are concerned about a social-class divide in the admissions process. “In some affluent communities,” he says, “we have a community-service Olympics going on, to see who can get the most impressive community-service experience, and it’s become another accomplishment, another way of padding your résumé. At the same time, there are large numbers of students who don’t have opportunities to do community service.” For some students, parents’ pressure to get them into elite college is a major factor. “If they don’t get over their obsession with a handful of colleges,” says Weissbourd, “this process is going to be really hard to change.” There’s been push-back on the “Turning the Tide” report, and some colleges have declined to endorse it. “This manifesto is too broad, too general, and frankly too critical, and in a way [that] assumes the worst about young people,” says Richard Shaw, the dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid at Stanford University (which didn’t support the report). Gregory Roberts, dean of admissions at the University of Virginia, which did endorse “Turning the Tide,” still has concerns: “Frankly, the students I see are accepting of others and interested in making the world a better place.” Other skeptics wonder how deeply the admissions process should peer into the hearts of 17-year-olds. Is it appropriate to ask whether a student is “kind, generous, honest, fair, and attuned to those who are struggling in their daily lives”? And some have pointed out that the report applies mostly to a small percent of students, and what colleges say they value may be a challenge to game the system. “Smart, rich kids are always going to figure out a way to look the way colleges want them to look,” says Willard Dix, an independent college counselor in Chicago, of the admissions process. “It’s a moment of extreme self-consciousness, and you’re trying to put yourself in the best possible light.”
“Wanted: Students of High Character” by Eric Hoover in The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 29, 2016 (Vol. LXII, #20, p. A8), no free e-link available