On Monday, Mar. 26, Athletic Director David Collicutt sent an e-mail to all faculty and staff announcing that nearly all of the School’s athletic teams had recently won accolades in the 2012 CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) Southern-Section Ford Academic Awards, based on their unweighted average grade point averages (GPAs), ranging from Varsity Basketball, with a collective GPA of 3.338, to Varsity Tennis, with a collective GPA of 3.763.
While the awards may have been common knowledge among the faculty, the athletes themselves, for the most part, were unaware that the School had even entered this competition.
“Yeah, I’ve heard of [the awards], but I don’t really know what they are,” Alexa Boghosian ’13, a member of the Varsity Golf team, said.
One of the athletes singled out for her high GPA on her respective team said she hadn’t even heard of the Ford Academic Awards prior to her interview.
Upon hearing about the competition, several girls were happy for the recognition bestowed upon the student-athletes.
“I think there’s a lot to say about a strong student-athlete… it shows commitment in both areas,” Boghosian said.
Many athletes were pleased to have attained the awards but said they were confused as to why they had been entered into the competition in the first place.
“GPA just doesn’t seem fitting to go with sports,” Kasey Marenco ’13, a member of the Varsity Golf, Track, and Soccer teams, said.
Several other girls echoed this statement, stating that they thought achievement in the two spheres, athletics and academics, should be considered separately. However, few were particularly surprised by the School’s participation in the competition.
“It’s so typical of Marlborough to bring academics into a place where it isn’t necessarily the focus,” Lauren Richardson ’14, a member of the Varsity Basketball and Track teams said.
Many students also pointed out that the School often tries to avoid putting GPAs in the spotlight, citing how beginning in the 2011-2012 school year, individual names were no longer announced at a Cum Laude All-School Meeting; as a result, many were confused over the sudden focus on them.
“Even on report cards [Marlborough doesn’t] have GPAs,” Marenco said.
Others students said they object to the GPA system altogether, finding it to be an unfair universal standard.
“For some students, [GPAs] are a good system, but for others, who are really smart but may not be great test-takers, it is not, ” Varsity Soccer player Rachel Lurie ’14, said.
Several of the athletes also felt that the GPAs misrepresented their academic achievements. The GPAs entered into the competition were on an unweighted, 4.0 scale, and therefore did not recognize students’ participation in more challenging classes.
“If you’re going to give out an academic award, the GPA should be weighted… some of the team GPAs [may seem] low, but that’s because they don’t account for the honors classes,” Richardson said.
However, in spite of the ambivalent reactions to this competition, most athletes agreed that the achievement had certain benefits: namely, perpetuating a positive image of Mustang sports as a whole.
“I don’t think the dumb jock stereotype is prominent at Marlborough,” Richardson said.