TV newscasters have lately been accusing certain Americans of being "wusses" and "wimps." This name-calling attitude started when a high school ordered its students to stop wearing T-shirts or sweatshirts with the name of the college they plan to attend.
Apparently, seniors who found out that they were accepted at Harvard or Yale or another well-respected school were going online and purchasing shirts from their "soon-to-be" place of education and wearing those shirts to class.
The administration of the high school told the students that wearing the shirts was a form of bragging and that the shirts made other kids feel worse about themselves. If your classmate was only accepted at Podunk Community College and you are going to Harvard, his shirt was a symbol of his failure. Never mind that yours is also a symbol of your success.
Upon hearing this whole story, my brain almost exploded. What is wrong with some people? Has the political atmosphere become so concentrated on "sharing the wealth" that we now have to disregard common sense? Since when did wearing a college sweatshirt become taboo?
When I was a high school senior, lots of members of our class could not afford to even go to college. Some of us were accepted at cheaper state schools (there were no community colleges then), while some planned to matriculate at private colleges or universities that cost a bundle. We were all different and celebrated each other's life choices.
Did I wish I could have afforded to go to a prestigious university? Sure I did. Did I resent one of my classmates who was going there? Of course I didn't. Life wasn't like that in the 1950s. We were smart enough to figure out how society worked. We didn't expect that all of us were equal. We didn't have an "entitled" attitude, either.
I remember my father being a little concerned when I told him that I wanted to be a teacher and go to college. He was a bartender and my mom was a stay-at-home mother. The household income was tight, and we all knew it. My sisters and I would wrap change that our dad brought home from his tips. That became the food money for the week. Going to college from our home meant that the budget would be stretched beyond belief.
Not being a wuss or a wimp, I set my mind on earning enough money during my four years of high school so that college could be within my grasp. Working as a waitress and saving every cent I earned brought my dream to fruition. I didn't need any loans and I didn't require my parents to mortgage the house.
When I was accepted at a state teachers college, there was much joy in our home. It was a school I could afford. And, yes, I wore a Kutztown State Teachers' College shirt proudly. The other kids in my high school class congratulated me and I congratulated them. The boy who wore the Princeton shirt was just like the rest of us glad to be settled on a college and ready to start the next phase of his life.
I feel bad for today's youth. They are being taught that success can be wrong and that life is unfair. How stupid is that? Instead, they should be celebrating each other, cheering success, congratulating classmates and enjoying the fruits of their labors.
Wish I knew the principal of the school that is trying to banish college sweatshirts. I would have to argue with him. A better choice would be to publish the list of college acceptances every week even announce them aloud and have the whole school cheer. Knowing how kids are, they would cheer as loudly for the kid who was accepted at Podunk Community College as they would for the kid who is going to Harvard.
When you knock someone down in order to raise someone else up, neither person gains anything. Lifting everyone up is the answer.
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