Class of 2018 Goes Above and Beyond

There is always competition in high school whether it is in sports or music or academics.

Academically, there is a level of competition especially among students at the top of the class for things like class rank or valedictorian honors. In the class of 2018, the level of competition is over the top.

This year, over 30 students will be graduating Summa Cum Laude which means they have taken advanced courses so their GPAs will be over a 4.0.

Last year, the number of Summa Cum Laude graduates was significantly lower.

Numbers of Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude graduates are high as well. This year, 115 seniors are graduating with honors meaning they have at least a 3.5 GPA.

Looking beyond the GPAs, it is still clear that the class of 2018 is exceptional.

From Dimond high school there are a total of eight Presidential Scholar Nominees, compared to last year’s two.

The nominees are part of a group of 4,500 other high school seniors chosen from all across the nation.

Because of the number of high schools and the small number of 4500 as the max number of nominees, every high school is not even guaranteed one nominee; Dimond has eight.

The graduating class also has 3 National Merit Scholar finalists; one of, if not the, highest achievement in the realm of standardized testing. To even qualify, students must have scored near perfect on the PSAT Junior year.

The extent to which all of this academic success can be attributed to the high level of competition in the class can not be quantified, but it definitely plays a role.

There is a fierce market for comparison in the honor roll student group, and knowing a classmate scored better on a test can be heavily motivating for future study and future tests.

Though this atmosphere can drive kids to work harder, there are also downsides to the intensity of the environment.

Senior and AP Student Sydney Asplund said, “Dimond is incredibly competitive academically and that creates and environment of not being good enough in kids.”

The feeling of unsuperiority that can accompany students in a high achieving peer group can also influence class choices and paths of study.

Students may choose to take AP Classes they do not necessarily like or in areas they do not intend to pursue just for the GPA boost. With more students each increasing their AP Classes, the top GPAs have increased and, as Asplund said, “It’s incredibly hard for anyone to try and improve their class rank.”

It is also possible for students to choose accelerated tracks from a younger age to remain at the top and have access to more AP Classes.

For some, the decision to take AP Calculus began in 6th grade when advanced students could choose to take pre-algebra online in order to be far enough ahead for calculus.

This year’s AP Calc BC class is one of the largest and most successful in recent years.

Although competition plays a role, there is also just plain hard work and intelligence that these students need credit for.

What drives each of these top students is very individual.

Dimond High School itself is also key to the academic success of the class of 2018

Kobe Vanderwood, another AP Student and senior at Dimond said, “Our school promotes to do well and succeed in the classroom and helps prepare students to go to the college of their choice. The class of 2018 is one of the most competitive and one of the most academically successful classes to ever come out of Dimond.”