By: Anthony Chen
We have often heard about being shielded from the “harsh realities” of the world outside MSJ by the bubble of relative affluence we live in, but one aspect that most people fail to point out is that we’re not the only ones sitting on this academic throne. There are many other high schools that are of equal or higher caliber, and there are countless individuals who are just like the students at MSJ.
The Mission Bubble has created a false sense of superiority and complacency. We continuously receive boosts to our collective ego in the form of a nonstop barrage of awards and accomplishments; it was only during the last school year that Mission was ranked as the 36th best high school in the US. Our Academic Performance Index (API) has been steadily rising: in 2008 it was 931 (out of 1000), in 2009 it rose to 948, and in 2010 it rose even more to 952. The pressure-cooker environment only contributes to the problem. When people work hard, they feel like they deserve the reward.
An attitude of elitism has taken hold; although it may be rather mild elitism, it is elitism nonetheless. Many students have complained about the condition of our campus and the dearth of funding; I have heard our academic excellence being cited as a reason for increased funding over and over again. It is, however, groundless elitism in that we deserve the money no more than quite a few other high schools in California.
There are a number of comparable high schools in the Bay Area alone that are quite like Mission in academic terms. Lowell High School, located in San Francisco, has an API of 954, which is higher than MSJ’s. Monta Vista High School in Cupertino has an API of 943. Lynbrook High School in San Jose has an API of 939. The average SAT scores for these schools are also very similar to MSJ’s. All of these high schools, and more, have “geniuses” and are the “cream of the crop”.
It is not that students at MSJ don’t excel – we do, as evidenced by all the accolades the school has garnered over the years. We must remember, however, that hardworking, competent student abound. Even though MSJ is statistically ranked very high, the upper side of the bell curve can still fit quite a few people. This is not a reason to be intimidated, however; just do the best you can do, and don’t let success get to your head. After all, if everyone is special, who is?