Sunday, 25 September 2016

Grading Scale

It was exam time of last year when the rumors around school started spreading about the new grading system. Although the dean of academics was my advisor, he provided a little insight on what was happening in the administration during that time. Disbelief, anxiety, and uncertainty were just some of the emotions circulating among the students. Of course, the seniors were ecstatic that they left just in time before this new found rule was implemented, the rest of us weren’t that lucky. The class of ‘018 has been regarded as smart, hardworking and unmatchable on countless occasions, would we ever win the GPA award again? Or was our title of intelligence ripped away by something that was supposed to benefit us in the long run? Would colleges acknowledge the fact that Woodstock decided to change the grading scale in our most crucial year of high school? It was agreed that this trimester would be of the utmost importance in deciding what would happen in our future.
    Just last week we held a protest in the quad in response to this ludicrous change to our academics. It just so happened that there was a board meeting happening at the same time, this was a fortunate coincidence that helped us access a different and more authoritative audience. Ten minutes after the protest started, Mr.Kaplan and Mr.V came into the center of the ever growing circle to answer our questions and listen to our concerns. We asked questions, and they managed to respond to every issue we had posed in the same way, this went on for about an hour. Overall it was a rather polite and professional conversation between the few speakers who represented the students and Mr.V and Mr.Kaplan who were representing the teachers as a whole and representing the board members to a certain extent.
    When the students dispersed and began walking down to dorms, people started debating whether or not this was considered successful or a waste of time for both teachers and students alike. Rethinking what the teachers said and what the students said now makes me realize that both groups had reasonable arguments. Despite the fact that Mr.Kaplan and Mr.V seemed to reiterate the same answer to each question we asked them. I would say the fact that they took the time to talk to us showed that they want to address our worries, and they don’t want us to fail miserably as we had originally thought.
    Personally, I felt that the students were less persuasive than intended due to that fact that there was no organization in the questions or the method of asking them. It was more about bombarding the teachers with personal complaints which any good debater knows is not how you approach a person of authority. With that being said, at the end of the day, it was incredibly hard to decide which side was more successful. I doubt the administration will go back to the old grading scale, but I do think they should find a way to make the transition better for the sake of our transcripts.
    There is no way to tell how this will affect our future or if this will even benefit us remotely, all we can do is try our hardest and continue to be the best class we can be.

Sunday, 18 September 2016


    Atonement is the action of making amends for a wrong or injury. This is the title of the novel we were assigned to read; this is what Briony, the protagonist of the novel by the same name,  wished to accomplish. But did she want to atone for her mistake or was she just wallowing in self-pity? This is the question we went back and forth about for fifteen minutes in our open space groups. Needless to say, we could not decide.

The majority stated that yes, Briony did reach her ultimate goal and proved to Cee and Robbie that she was truly sorry.The fact that she accused Robbie of raping Lola when she was only thirteen and did not understand what she witnessed  shows how immature and naive she was, absolving her of responsibility. Later in life, instead of attending Cambridge like the rest of her family, she decided to become a nurse. Some may say this was an attempt to become closer to Cecilia because Cee was a nurse as well. Another contributing factor may have been that, throughout her life, the guilt over her accusation consumed her and led her not just to a career in service and helping others, but to her decision to write the book in the first place. These are all plausible explanations, but I don’t agree with them. I think Briony was doing what she did for selfish reasons and she never truly tried her hardest to atone for what she did. There as so many things she could have done and yet she chose to do the things that would make people pity her. Being a nurse during a major war is never an easy task. She feels too guilty to further her education as the rest of her family she felt like punishing herself by becoming a nurse. I see this a selfish because the only one affected by this is Briony herself. Whereas if she attended Cambridge, she could've made something of herself and helped many more people.  In my view, Briony could've been more persistent on expressing to Cee how sorry she was, rather than letting Cee isolate herself and hate Briony more because of what she's done. At the end of the day, Briony was the reason Robbie and Cecilia couldn't spend enough time together; she singlehandedly ruined Robbie’s life, and for what? Robbie and Cee both died apart from each other never being able to live their lives together; that’s all because of Briony. The fact that Cee and Robbie live happily together in Briony’s book doesn't mean that everything is alright. By the time Briony realized what she had done and the impact it had on the people around her, it was too late to alter the court statement. So yes, in my eyes Briony performed some atonement and made an effort to atone for what she did. But the gravity of the accusation she made and the effect it had on everyone around her was so drastic and lasting that there’s no way for her to atone properly, no matter the efforts she's made. That is why Robbie and Cee never forgive her, because what she did was unforgivable.

McEwan, Ian. Atonement: A Novel. New York: Anchor, 2001. Print.
( looked up the definition of atonement)