As a 13 year old in the eighth grade, I have spent much of my life with different administrators and teachers. I have always respected the adults' authority and decisions, but I sometimes wonder how much our advisers entrust us with making our own decisions. For years it was always a normal part of our day. Adults watching us on the playground. Adults getting angry if we strayed too far on the soccer field. Teachers looking at us suspiciously for whispering, or getting angry if we take too much time in the restroom. Yet for the first time this year, I have seen how sheltered students really are.

As editor of our school's yearbook, the decision was made that we would include a page of superlatives, voted by the eighth grade class. As word leaked through to other students, people began to get excited and were prepared to nominate others or even themselves, for such categories as funniest, most intelligent, best dressed, etc. Yet the morning before the nominations would take place, we were told superlatives were no longer allowed and would not be in our 06-07 yearbook, let alone probably any yearbook of the future. Why?, we asked.

Because the administration thought it would result in students being voted in by popularity, leaving others out of the running. As I said before, I have always respected the adults' authority but I had to disagree with their newest ruling over the student body.

I believe that superlatives are just as much a 'popularity contest' as running for class president or any part of the student council. Do the adults not think that popularity affects the outcome of most elections? Do they not realize banning superlatives is just like banning an election for student council? We are not excluding anyone from the running. People can nominate who they choose. In fact they can even nominate themselves … sounds kind of like a student council election, doesn't it?

After that the nominees would be included on a ballot, and voted for. Again, another similar part of any regular election as is the voting process. People of society today know that 60 percent of the things we experience in life have some sort of contest of popularity. And isn't it what teachers are trying to prepare us for? Becoming mature adults of the future? Sheltering us from things such as a superlatives election won't help students mature into adults. Protecting us from rejection, failure, or flat-out not getting what we want, will do nothing but make us less mature.

So really what is the next step? Not having a student council because elections are mainly based on popularity? You may say, students vote on who they think will best represent them, but the authorities are entrusting us to do so, and should do the same with superlative elections. I guess the point of this letter is not to complain or convince people to give us our superlatives back, but instead attempting to gain more respect and authority from the people in charge. Asking our teachers and advisers to treat us more like mature adults, letting us deal with adult-like situations, rather then treat us like hormonal 13 year olds, shielding us from the dark, scary world outside the school's walls.

My question is what is your take on this? Are we not getting enough room to grow? And if you were a student, what would you do in this situation?

Sammy J. Saldivar, Portland, is an eighth grader at Lake Oswego Junior High School.

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