Scholar Shields Highlight Academic Achievement

Dimond High School highlights many aspects of Lynx culture. From academics to athletics to extracurriculars, there is a niche for everyone at Dimond.

However, academics are sometimes undervalued in comparison to the athletic prowess that Dimond holds.

Former history teacher and National Honor Society sponsor Gregory Brown shared these concerns and sought to better highlight the academic greatness that walks the halls of this school.

Current National Honor Society advisor, science teacher Lea Bouton, said, “In the same way that we have trophies for athletic achievements, [Brown] wanted a way to honor academic achievements.”

Thus, Brown created the scholar shields, a tradition that highlights star students for their academic talent. Each shield contains at least four sections that highlight certain levels of academic achievement.

Current history teacher Lem Wheeles said, [the scholar shields] “started to recognize those who had won high level awards like AP scholar or when we have a Presidential Scholar.”

The qualifications for such are unknown to many. Bouton, who is now in charge of the scholar shields, explained what it takes to achieve certain levels of distinction on the shields.

The qualifications for the scholar shields are “based off how many AP tests you take and what your scores are. The lowest achievement is AP Scholar and that is students that receive a three or higher on three or more AP tests,” Bouton said.

Despite the rigorous requirements to attain such distinction, Dimond proves to truly be the best in the land with as many as 30 students per year who earn a place in Dimond history. Those who qualify have their names etched into the DNA that is the Dimond Lynx.

Students who qualify attend a ceremony, which honors those who will be placed on the scholar shield for their graduating class.

Incoming freshmen tend to be unaware of the honors, such as the scholar shields, that exist at Dimond high and tend to remain unaware throughout their entire high school career.

Dimond alumni and current UCLA student Christopher Chung says he too was unaware of the scholar shields’ existence during his freshman year at Dimond.

However, Chung states, “I became aware after junior year after I took all my APs.”

Currently, the scholar shields at Dimond only date back about a decade into the rich and long history of Dimond High School. Teachers at Dimond have raised questions about creating scholar shields from past years all the way back to 1999.

Dimond alumni records have been archived for decades and thus the creation of such alumni scholar shields is highly feasible. However, no action towards the matter has been taken, Wheeles said.

Separately, current Dimond students continue to strive for greatness in hopes of attaining scholar shield qualifications. Senior David Startz is one of the best and brightest that Dimond has to offer.

Startz will have taken a total of six AP classes by the end of his high school career and has scored high enough to attain a minimum of AP Scholar status. Startz is also currently enrolled in Calculus BC—the most rigorous mathematics course that Dimond has to offer.

However, Startz seemed indifferent about his possible qualification for being an AP Scholar.

He said, “As a byproduct of me getting good grades in classes, I would like to see [my name on the scholar shield] as a sort of validation for my effort.”

Moreover, Startz seemed unimpressed with the academic achievement that scholar shields represent.

He said, “I feel as though anybody can take AP classes and that if you spend enough time taking AP classes, you get [good grades in AP classes].”

Similarly, some students have shared this same belief. However, the tradition continues to illuminate the highest-achieving students at Dimond High School.