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They recognize a large number of students for a lot of little awards, while full ride scholarships, national awards won for something the student did on their own, outside scholarships -
even if they come with extra money for the school - etc. are not recognized at all. To the point where several kids graduating at the top of the class will not be recognized at all (one of whom got into 2 or 3 Ivies.)]
Senior award night is not the platform for this recognition students who have gotten full ride scholarships, admitted to the Ivies, as these students have been recognized by their colleges by virtue of their admissions to those schools. Personally if I hear one more Eggbert got a full scholarship to Harvard (when we know that Harvard only gives need based aid) I will set my own hair on fire (lucky me, that I keep it cut short).
There are limited time for awards and Senior awards are designed to recognize students for what they have done during high school (academic, service, School as a community, state and local awards). My guess is that they are school awards, awards given by the school district, city and state awards.
So the same students who win the PTO sponsored awards will win the little scholarships, and get called up multiple times. The top student in each subject area is determined by tests in each subject, administered after school. A lot of the top students have a "screw this" attitude towards those tests, and the person who is recognized as top is quite likely not someone who performed consistently well throughout the school year.
You can't have it both ways. It sounds like this is no big secret; the test is open, if students decide to say screw it and don't want to participate int he process of getting an award, they have no reason to complain because they did not get one. If a student chooses not to apply for a scholarship or sit for the test for an award, they have a 100% chance of not getting one. They have no reason to be upset because they were not recognized.
I am quite sure that your school has a senior wall which indicates where every one has been accepted in addition to college signing day or on the back of the graduation program stating that the class of 2017 is headed to (list of schools where students are headed , not by name) if they want to have an assembly to recognize Eggbert's acceptance to (name your school), then have at it.
I got independent status last week