Friday, June 03, 2005

Valedictory Addresses and US High Schools

Fascinating article in this week's New Yorker about the system in US High Schools that appoints the top student of the year to give a valedictory address to his or her contemporaries, explaining, I suppose, why he or she is wonderful and the rest of youse bums are not.

It sounds bizarre that anybody would take this seriously, but lately in the States students have been suing the nuts off each other over differences in Grade Point Averages of 0.0014 that mean that Chester is Valedictorian '05, all hail, while Chipper is, you know, just some guy. Amazing.

It would never happen here, of course. One of your Spailpín Fánach's premier sources for news from The Hidden Ireland has been regaling An Spailpín with tales of an inter-county hurler who was a school contemporary of my source. It seems that this buckaroo wasn't really suited to readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmetic, but he could hurl like the devil out of Hell. So on the two occasions when this chappie had just about enough of teacher and lamped him one, over some nice point of Irish grammar, I like to think, the teacher is reminded of what's what in his (or, God help us, her) world. Teacher is refusing to go within one hundred yards of the hurler and wants him out, gone, finished, but Teacher is then gently reminded by the Principal of the school that it is Harty Cup next Tuesday after all, and the swelling will go down in a couple of days.

Valedictorian me arse, as the expression goes.