Yes. We should recognize students’ accomplishment.

Gabriela Paz-Soldan, Editor-in-Chief

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On May 1, seniors don t-shirts emblazoned with the name of their future college, following an annual tradition that is meant to celebrate students’ accomplishments.

Although this tradition has raised doubts, seniors should wear their college apparel proudly. College T-Shirt Day is not a day for people to feel inferior or superior to their peers; it is quite the opposite.

Sporting a college t-shirt serves as a symbol of the hard work an individual has put in throughout high school. The name or prestige of the college is irrelevant. Just the fact that the student is able to continue their academic career at an institution of higher education is a laudable achievement in and of itself. It is an achievement that, come May 1, classmates should take the opportunity to recognize and congratulate each other for.

Of course, it can be argued that this might create a situation where some students feel self-conscious or perhaps jealous. The reality is that not everyone gets into the school of their dreams. And someone might not feel comfortable displaying their commitment to a community college while sitting next to someone heading to an Ivy League.

This outlook, however, is a personal choice. We, as a society, need to place less importance on a university’s rank. One thing to learn from the recent college admissions scandal is that the prestige of a school is gravely overinflated, so much so that people will take extreme lengths, even breaking federal laws, to secure a spot at an elite institution.

Virtually any college can set a student up for success if he or she takes the initiative and works hard. Yet, through our rankings and lists, we have created a perceived hierarchy of the nation’s colleges. This is not to say that every school is equal. That is far from accurate. But the spirit of College T-Shirt Day should not be to fixate on who is going to the “better” school. Rather, it should be a celebration that students are taking the next step in their lives, one that required incredible efforts to reach.

Another concern surrounding the tradition is that college is not the right post-secondary path for everyone. Many students decide to pursue something else after high school so won’t this day make them feel excluded or sidelined?

It is a valid objection. Those who are choosing alternate paths deserve their time in the spotlight too. No doubt these students also have bright futures ahead and many accomplishments to praise, and the school community should do more to recognize this.

Yet, with more than 90 percent of Algonquin graduates entering post-secondary educational institutions, I don’t find it unreasonable that we should take this one day to commend them.

To dedicate May 1 to those who do chose to continue their academic careers in a university setting doesn’t mean that we have to disregard those who don’t. We should celebrate all students, regardless of which path they decide to take after high school.

Though College T-Shirt Day focuses on just one of these paths, it does not impede us from acknowledging them all. May 1 should remain a day where we praise the achievements of those who will be attending college, given that we also find a way to praise the achievements of others.

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