If you haven’t been brave enough to walk through the senior hallway this year (honestly, I’m scared to walk through it sometimes, so I don’t blame you), there’s a new attraction in addition to the senior photo wall. Since a few weeks ago, we now have our very own “Wall of Shame.” Taped on the senior lounge window are failing and close-to-failing quiz, test, and homework grades to show solidarity, humility, and senioritis.
Or at least that’s what it has been in the past. The Class of 2013 started their Wall of Shame during second semester, when senioritis is not only more chronic but also more socially acceptable. Last year, the senior grade made a rule that the grades must be failing to make it to the Wall of Shame, but the Class of 2014 takes a few more liberties, with the occasional D- displayed next to a solid 35% grade.
But what does it mean that we’ve started so early? To senior Maria Cheadle who has posted something on the Wall herself, it doesn’t matter when we’ve started as much as what it means for our grade. “I like it because, in a way, it brings our grade together,” Maria says. “It also shows that we don’t get as mad about failing as we used to, because failing is part of life.”
Not all seniors feel this way. One senior I talked to is adamantly opposed to it and is in fact worried for the grade. In his words, “It should not be celebrated that seniors are getting bad grades this early; it’s disappointing, not funny. I think students will be regretting this in mid-December [when early action/decision applications come back].” Another one says, “It makes me feel better about myself but also scared for the senior class as the end of the quarter nears.”
2014’s solidarity and shamelessness doesn’t make as much sense to other grades, though. I asked one junior what she thought about the Wall of Shame, and she said she had not heard of it. When I explained, she said, “I mean if you want to broadcast to the world that you did poorly, that’s fine, but I honestly don’t understand why you would want to, especially since we go to such a competitive school.”
Maybe there’s room for compromise, though. Senior Emily Salzman has mixed feelings about the Wall of Shame that sum up the pros and cons of this senior tradition started early. “I feel like we shouldn’t be advertising really bad grades,” she says, “but at the same time it’s funny and makes people feel better about themselves to see that other people are getting bad grades too.”
No matter what, though, senior year is stressful, and the early Wall of Shame is 2014’s reaction to that, for good or for bad.]]>