The potential stigma on students because of chocolate bars

We all remember Rohlad Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the way Veruca Salt was viciously pulled down the hole by squirrels, the stretchy girl turning into a giant blueberry, and that special moment when Charlie received his golden ticket depicting his family’s greatest day of their lives in years. He grew up with practically nothing and yet showed the most compassion despite how little he had compared to his fellow winners, and he definitely deserved it. Right? 

But is this always the route to go? To reward people randomly because of some arbitrary conditions? Charlie and his family didn’t deserve to live in the conditions they had to; however, what about all the other people living in the same situation who didn’t have a disgustingly rich chocolatier as their savior? 

The discouragement and reality only settle in further, at the realization that no matter how much effort you put in to flourish, you won’t be the next Charlie with a chocolate factory of your own to recognize your efforts. As pessimistic as that may be this isn’t a rare feeling. 

Test marked a 68%, largely written in red marker in the corner of the page
The test is marked a 68%, largely written in red marker in the corner of the page (Betty Desta)

You might’ve heard the news of a new initiative of Mrs. Skinner’s: Sophomores who have no D’s or F’s when December rolls around get a free chocolate bar as a memento for their hard work. It’s exciting and a fresh idea to try and motivate students, especially with the plummet in the drive due to the pandemic. But where does that leave the kids who are trying, but aren’t improving at the same rate as their classmates? It only weighs them down further, that they didn’t do enough.

The school needs something to help motivate students and keep them on that path. How do any of us know that rewarding grades with a C or above will actually force them to stay driven? Instead, we would just be triggering a sense of disappointment within students, who possibly are already feeling a burden on their shoulders from their life outside of school.

Along with this, rewards like chocolate bars are a momentary incentive that doesn’t guarantee the actual drive and success for students.

Sophomore Katherine Bui says “It won’t guarantee long term for sure”, because students only see it as a finish line, that once they pass, they won’t care about again.

This school desperately needs change, especially among students’ mindset towards their education, I’ll admit that. As trends within media and real life change, so do students and their perspectives on things, and for a lot of people, good grades aren’t the coolest quality. This combined with the pandemic’s hit on grades has made them a disaster. However, this trend among students is something that needs more acknowledgment that requires a large and long-term solution, to actually prevent a drastic drop in grades within a questionable amount of students, especially if one hundred and fifty students plus are receiving D and F letters.

The intentions behind this incentive aren’t purposely harmful but can raise the stigma that people with poor grades aren’t trying or aren’t putting in the effort when we don’t know what they might be going through, which causes their grades to be poor. By focusing on the effect rather than the cause behind it, we only show care to the letter grade aspect of a student and not their actual being.