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March 21, 2013

School nixes honors night - too 'devastating' for those not honored


Kevin Whooley, who has a daughter in eighth grade, said many parents are “dumbfounded” as to why the honors night needed to be canceled.

“They have had honors night here for years, and there is no reason not to continue it,” he said. “It is like having a sports banquet for those who play sports. Not everyone makes honors. You can’t be politically correct about everything.”

Whooley noted that honors night was an event for the whole family, and many parents won’t be able to make an assembly during the day.

Debbie Williams, who has a daughter in seventh grade, said that ending honors night sends the wrong message to students.

“It gives my daughter a chance to shine,” Williams said. “She is not good at sports. She is an exceptionally academic student, and it makes her proud.”

Fabrizio said that only a couple of parents have reached out to him in opposition to the plan, and the reaction he’s received has been mostly positive. He said the idea was faculty-driven and supported by the School Committee and Superintendent Rick Korb.

“The Ipswich School Committee stands by the decision of our administrators and staff to celebrate the achievements of all students in a manner consistent with our school culture of inclusion,” Chairman Hugh O’Flynn said in a statement.

“Based on research and collaborating with colleagues, we think this will be better for our students than the past ceremony,” Fabrizio said.

Fabrizio said there are many misconceptions about the move.

“They think I am giving everyone a trophy, and that is so far from the truth,” he said. “I know it is a tradition here, but sometimes we have to change things for the better. By seeing their classmates succeed, it may motivate some students to move forward.”

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