Editorial: Respect the race to be first


Maya Palavali

Coppell High School has a reputation for its academic competition among its students. The Sidekick editorial board thinks in the long term benefits of partaking in the rigorous climb to the top.

Editorial Board

When you think of the word “competition,” your mind may take a trip down memory lane back to childhood: winning first place in a basketball tournament, a class spelling bee, musical chairs; even Monopoly. 

You may even remember the embarrassment of losing, but also the pure excitement you felt when you emerged victorious. 

Now, as a high school student, competition has evolved into racing to get the highest GPA, become valedictorian or trying to receive the best score on a test. When comparing your childhood memories to the competitive reality you experience in high school, you wonder how those two could ever be even in the same realm as each other. 

It is a well known fact by Coppell High School students that the culture, unintentionally, fosters a competitive atmosphere that students experience for three years. No matter what, you can almost always find students discussing grades, GPA, ranks and SAT/ACT scores. These discussions lead to a cutthroat contest between peers and an “every man for themselves” mentality.  

Undoubtedly, this kind of competition and mindset developed by students at CHS can be toxic, vicious and extremely unhealthy. The faceoff between peers has come to consume the lives of students, and it is difficult to find students who do not become entrapped in that frame of mind.

Once you eliminate ranks from the discussion, ultimately, it is not solely the CHS students who are competing against each other; eventually, everyone is thrown into one giant pool of applicants for consideration, no matter their high school. Contrary to popular belief, colleges operate on an individual basis, meaning that there is no quota on the number of students that can be accepted from a specific school. 

The competitive thinking a person develops at CHS, whether they want it or not, comes with hidden benefits students may not always realize. Simply put, when a student is placed in a competitive school where they have to “claw” their way to the top, they are forced to develop key traits to help them thrive in their present situation. Whether that be a solid work ethic, time-management skills, self-confidence, responsibility, self-monitoring or leadership, those skills that flourish in high school can carry throughout the rest of one’s life. 

 Yes, there are some drawbacks to competition, especially when it becomes too unhealthy or toxic, causing unnecessary anxiety, aggression and frustration. However, students must recognize that despite those negatives, this kind of competition propels them forward by motivating them, helping them accept failure and boosting self-esteem and engagement. 

Think about the competition to be ranked high in your graduating class. Nearly everyone races for the first three years of high school to have a high enough GPA to be ranked in the top 10%, 6%, 5% or any other goal. When their rank comes out in junior year, they either work hard to maintain that rank or even harder to surpass other people and be ranked higher. 

After you graduate high school and go on to do bigger and better things, it becomes evidently clear that the environment that was characterized by students vying for that top spot equips graduates with a diligent work ethic and proper frame of mind, setting them up for success in the endeavors they desire to pursue. 

Despite how it may appear now to students in a high school with more than 3,000 students, most of whom are fighting for a limited number of spots or titles, the negatively perceived competition may not be as bad as it is made out to be. Understanding the value of competition in high school is an essential part of making a student’s experience in high school all the more worthwhile. 

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