The Grind of a 4.0

Students are honored at the close of each semester for earning straight As.

Sophomore+Katy+Rothfusz+and+junior+Camryn+Church+work+together+during+chemistry.+

Colin Mullenix

Sophomore Katy Rothfusz and junior Camryn Church work together during chemistry.

Chaylei Carey, Staff Writer

Ever since the second or third grade, students have received report cards with letter grades that are based on attentiveness and homework. At the time, these report cards were no big deal. If a kid had all As, their parents would likely put the report on the refrigerator to show off the academic feat. However, things are now different in high school. Students still receive report cards, but the details on the sheet are more important than ever. They letters earned are a part of a student’s future. 

A report card presents a lot of information, which can be confusing at first glance. A student’s letter grades, course schedule, and GPA can all be found on the little slip of paper. The best GPA on a normal scale is a 4.0. That being said, some students have over a 4.0 due to classes that are on a 5.0 scale. A few examples of 5.0 classes include AP chemistry, calculus, and precalculus. In order to attain a 4.0, students must earn all As. Many students strive to obtain this coveted GPA, while others don’t think too much about it.

Sophomore Brayden Atkinson has achieved the 4.0 status for all of his high school career. “I want a 4.0 because it looks good for colleges. I don’t focus on getting a 4.0 over learning in classes, but it is still in the back of my mind to make sure I’m getting a good grade,” B. Atkinson said. Even though he still cares about his grades, B. Atkinson said he will always put learning over the letter. 

Having a 4.0 does not affect the decisions I make, as I care more about the knowledge gained than the grade.”

— Tyler Atkinson

Like his brother, senior Tyler Atkinson has a 4.0 GPA. T. Atkinson said, “I honestly didn’t even want a 4.0 as most scholarships don’t rely on GPA anymore. Having a 4.0 just happened because I wanted to do well in class.” As a senior, T. Atkinson said he hasn’t really made any sacrifices for his 4.0. T. Atkinson is involved in band, and his participation in that activity hasn’t interfered with his school work too much. “Just some nights I’m not able to get as much homework done due to band. Or sometimes I would have to sacrifice some of my free time to get homework done to the best of my ability,” T. Atkinson said. “Having a 4.0 does not affect the decisions I make, as I care more about the knowledge gained than the grade.”

Senior Aly Brockob’s opinion on grades has changed throughout high school. She said, “If you had asked me when I was a freshman or sophomore, I would have said my GPA was really important because I had built my identity around being smart. What made me special in my friend group was that I was smart.” Tons of other upperclassmen feel the same way. They feel as though that now they have matured and grown up, their views on grades have changed. They have prioritized learning, as well as having fun while they are a kid. Backing this point up, Brockob also said, “Now that I’m a senior, it doesn’t mean a whole lot to me anymore. I know what my abilities are. If I don’t have a perfect GPA, it doesn’t bother me. It’s just a number. This number will not determine where I go in life.”

Looking from a different perspective, principal Heather McKay said, “I think it is important for students to do their best, whatever level that is.” When she was in school, McKay said she had to work hard for her grades. “Besides a few semesters, I was never a 4.0 student. I don’t think it matters about the numbers but more of how hard you work and how much effort you put into it. I think that is what’s more important.” 

I’ve had many students who have struggled to keep their grades up in school who are genuinely so smart. They have written the best papers I’ve read and they would read all the time.”

— Emma Bireline

English teacher Emma Bireline has noticed how grades come into play in the halls at AHS. “I’ve had many students who have struggled to keep their grades up in school who are genuinely so smart. They have written the best papers I’ve read and they would read all the time.” Bireline thinks it important to realize grades don’t always reflect a student’s ability. “Having a couple Bs in classes isn’t the end of the world. This quest to have a 4.0 hinders what school is actually about. It’s about learning. What did you take away from a course? What inspired you? What did you enjoy? The focus on a grade takes so many things away.”

At the end of the day, an A is an A, and a B is a B. Getting good grades isn’t always about pure intelligence. Hard work and the want to learn also are factors in the end result.