Saturday, February 16, 2008

Revisionist history

So in my recent fiddlings with the content of my blog, I re-read an ancient post from 2004 about the graduation shenanigans at Enloe. The article was entitled, simply, “Enloe’s class of 2004: Graduation madness.” In that article, I originally cited the News & Observer as the paper with the original source documents. Turns out, oddly enough, the articles (whose titles I cited verbatim) have since disappeared from the archives.

Strange. As a friend said, it could just be that the News & Observer didn’t think the content worth archiving. However, as much of the issue was swept under the rug before we brought it to the media’s attention, I’m curious what really happened to the information.

So, in that light, perhaps it’s worthwhile to archive documents like that. If only for my own later reference, should I care. You can find the original articles below. I’m not sure if this is a case of revisionist history, but the entire situation was so foul the idea doesn’t seem immediately absurd.

Unfortunate themes

In most cases, I wouldn’t add much personal commentary to something this old. But in light of recent events, some of which I discussed in my “Blue skies and crisp air” musing, I have more to add. This whole situation arose because of a few key problems: time management issues, disingenuity, and (critically) a motive to “succeed” at any cost. Which brings me to my next point—a cliché used to berate (however jokingly) a fictional character to whom I can relate:

Nice guys always finish last.

So, this dusty closet-dwelling skeleton reminds me of the saying. A case wherein a questionable character emerged numerically and systematically above hundreds of peers. However, the aggravation was what appeared to be willful igorance on behalf of the “system,” knowing that holistically, there was something unjust about so blindly handing out titles like “valedictorian.”

But there’s no justice in such mechanical systems, so the “nice guys” (like myself, I suppose) finish last. It’s just unfortunate, and occasionally aggravating, that this truth seems to hold sway over most facets of life. Shucks.

However, don’t get me wrong. If doing the right thing lands me in second place all the time, fine. I can’t be less than I expect of myself for the sake of mastering a broken system. Hell, I’ll take fiftieth over a tainted “first” place. I did in high school, and I probably will again. I just wish that, at least once in a while, there seemed to be more justice in life. Naïve, but true.

Original articles

Here’s the first snippet which started the heated exchange between students and parents of the accused. The original article was called “Uproar clouds Enloe ritual,” published in Raleigh’s News & Observer. Since it’s gone missing, I dug up a presumedly-accurate copy in this forum post at a site called the Democratic Undeground.

RALEIGH — Some seniors at Enloe High School are threatening to disrupt this year’s graduation if the student named valedictorian is allowed to speak.

These seniors are questioning whether Evan Wu deserves the title and say they will stand up and turn their backs on him if he speaks at next Saturday’s ceremony at the Raleigh Civic and Convention Center.

Enloe Principal Lloyd Gardner said Friday he hasn’t decided whether Wu will speak. He said that under Wake County policy, Wu was named valedictorian because his 5.5 grade point average is the highest in the senior class.

Evan Wu could not be reached for this story. Angela Wu said the efforts against her son come from “jealous” and “racist” classmates because he’s Chinese. She said students are taken aback by the attitude he gives of not working hard when in fact he studies well into the night.

“Uproar clouds Enloe ritual,” News & Observer, May 22, 2004

No comments: