Almost exactly a year ago, the former TPH editorial board wrote an editorial piece urging a cautious and thoughtful approach to the Wall of Honor proposal. Their opinion, part of a counter-argument which we feel was not given due consideration, called for establishing a process for approving on-campus installations such as the Wall of Honor.
In its early days, the Wall of Honor proposal faced serious questioning — students, staff, and parents alike wondered who would be “honored,” whether a military and foreign service display was appropriate at a public high school, and if indeed the installation was something the community wanted. SITE council and student senate discussions churned over the plan and its implications, both positive and negative. Then, the Wall of Honor disappeared from discussion.
Now all of a sudden it’s back, and apparently going to be implemented. The groundbreaking ceremony date is set for May 18. The committee is currently fundraising through the Piedmont Education Foundation and the superintendent has approved the project, but we are still left with a sense of doubt. The majority of students are in the dark.
The school board did not have to vote on the proposal because the funding for the wall comes from private donations. Legally this may be sufficient, but logically we feel that the school board should have to consider all projects that have as large an impact on our school as the Wall of Honor.
As an editorial board, we once again feel that the school has decided to enact something that would directly impact the student community without adequate input from students. If we were to take a poll about the Wall of Honor (which we urge the administration to do) — not even just asking if students support it, but if they have ever heard of it — we estimate that more than half of the student body would have no idea what we are even referring to. This lack of information concerns us, and it should concern students, teachers, and the entire community alike.
A statement made in last year’s editorial:
“Proposals like these should have a standardized process for approval in order to fully consider the nuances and create opportunity for thoughtful community feedback.
As part of a standardized process, a set of criteria needs to be established. One criterion that we should consider is whether a campus display honoring graduates should honor them only for activities that directly involve the school. PHS generally does not recognize its graduates for their service to society — no matter how admirable — and it would be highly impractical to honor every graduate who leaves a positive impact on the world.”