Dear Mr. Marvel:

My name is Grace Ruddy, which you may recognize from the most recent Kennett High School Honor Roll.

I am writing to address your recent column, “Mirage,” about that honor roll.

The first thing I would like to address in your piece is your blatant disrespect for me and my peers. By insinuating that it is likely that students do not have to work as hard nowadays, that “an ‘A’ now represents less than one 13th as much effort and achievement as it once did,” you are invalidating all the hard work students have put in. Your column made your views and the information that shaped those views very clear.

I would like to address that information with the tools I have gained from my Kennett High School education.

Your first error occurred when you attempted to compare data from 2021 and 1970. In proper data analysis, you should be using the largest possible data set. In statistics class, we were taught that you should try to have a minimum of 30 data points to run accurate tests.

You are trying to support your claim stating that representation on the honor roll is unusually high and significantly higher than in the past. To use data to support your claim, you would run two tests: a t-test and significance test, which will show you where this semester’s honor roll compares to what is expected based on the past, and if any difference can be caused by something other than chance variation. To do so, I would recommend having at least 51 data points. You have two.

I would also like to focus on the counterclaims you addressed, and, more important, those you did not. While mentioning the new space, increased number of teachers and “great changes in nutrition and economic condition,” you fail to recognize some major points.

Firstly, technology has allowed for many rapid advancements in education. Secondly, educational practices have changed. SAU 9 is moving to competency-based education in compliance with state law, which requires a much different grading system than what was found in 1970. Also, education has become much more accommodating and accessible, allowing more students to learn and thrive in environments better suited to their needs. That is thanks to the increased space and staff you acknowledged.

Lastly, I would like to tell you about my experience at Kennett as an honors student. I can tell you with confidence that I have worked hard for every “A” I have earned. Six days of my week have been devoted to school, from freshman to senior year, and much of the time during my summers has been spent on prerequisites and homework.

I am proud to see my name and my peers’ names on the honor roll, and I will not have anyone's accomplishments publicly belittled without defense.

In short, I believe that everyone would greatly benefit from your spending a day as a Kennett High School student in 2021.

I specifically recommend attending at least one of Dr. Loynd’s statistics classes and an argumentative writing lesson with Mrs. Hill.

Grace Ruddy, 17, is graduating with the KHS Class of 2021. She lives in Jackson.

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(3) comments


Grace, as a fan of statistical analysis myself, you pointed out some flaws in the analysis of Mr. Marvel yet you didn't offer any of your own to rebut his findings. There is not a sentient being alive who does not believe that the 'honor' roll has been diminished in meaning. Numerous studies have shown that teachers 'pass along' students rather than holding them back, causing a large percentage of high school students to graduate that require remedial reading and math in college. While YOU may have legitimately earned a place on the rolls, you did not show any evidence that Marvel is wrong. If anything , you proved his point with a lazy rebuttal.


Fabulous response Grace, you are so articulate. I hope you get into the college of your choice and this article misconception should be your college essay. The world needs critical thinkers like you and your peers. Imagine having to defend your diligent work bullies come in all ages.

Scott Shallcross

Kudos! I admire your courage. Don't let anyone define who you are or diminish your your accomplishments!

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