Getting good grades is a sport

Published 7:26 pm Monday, September 22, 2008

Back in the day, scholastic competition didn’t seem to be as big a deal as it is today. Maybe that was just me. I have long been an underachiever in academia, as my former teachers will attest (they would likely call me the poster boy for underachievers, actually). I just don’t remember as much energy put into the academic side of things.

Today, though, it is much stronger. High school students are looking into colleges at a much earlier age. Scholarships are sought after and fought after with the ferocity of athletes preparing for a playoff game.

The future is now. Students not only realize that they have to work hard to make good grades to get into college, but must also do well on standardized tests like the ACT just to hope to get in.

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High school students nationwide take and re-take the ACT in an effort to put their foot into the collegiate door ahead of others. Good grades are no longer enough; it also takes a qualifying ACT score, which can vary from a very good score to an outrageously brilliant score just to be accepted by a college or university.

Demopolis High School is taking the high road in getting its students into colleges by hosting an ACT camp. Last Saturday and this Saturday, students and DHS teachers are ceding their rest time to tackle the ACT test by going over math, science and English in an effort to post the best score possible.

In the football world, call this “hitting the weights,” as students bulk up their brain power to be tougher and have more mental stamina than the competition — in this case, other students vying for scholarships or college admissions.

And, just as in football, every point counts. A 24 in math is a good score, but what if other students have 26’s? Just as a football team can’t say “Three touchdowns ought to be good enough,” students can’t rely on a good score in math, science or English when a better score can be obtained through hard work.

Dr. Isaac Espy, the principal at DHS, has coordinated this ACT camp on the campus of the high school, and the students filled the roster in the first few days of its announcement. The school hopes to expand the camp next year.

How proud am I that these students so willingly took their free days to work to improve their ACT score? As an alum of DHS, I constantly find new ways to be proud of my school, and this is just the most recent. My personal Player of the Week goes to these students and their teachers, who also took their free Saturday time to work with this camp. These students are pumping academic iron, and that will pay off in the playoffs for scholarships and collegiate admission.

David Snow is the news editor of The Demopolis Times