Brother Bernardine: To Join or Not To Join: That Is NOT The Question

Subject: Brother Bernardine: To Join or Not To Join: That Is NOT The Question
From: Alexander Hsieh
Date: 15 Mar 2017

To Bishop Kelley students and incoming 8th graders,
Don’t be stupid. If you’re not convinced, read on.
First of all, I did not drop out because of any academic probation, to clear up any rumors that I was falling behind.
In fact, now, without the program, I can follow my passions and my dreams. I encourage all of you, on-level or the top of the Honors program, to do the same: follow your dreams and passions. Don’t let an arbitrary title hold you back.
When my sister, Megan Hsieh, joined the Brother Bernardine Scholars Program in 2013, my sister wanted to drop from the get-go. But, our mother always told us that we should stay and not quit too early, which is a good advice, truth be told. Because of what my mother and family said, my sister stayed in the Brother Bernardine Scholars program for four straight years. Now, she is in senior year, and she is facing an insurmountable problem with the “BB” program (Brother Bernardine). Recently, during October, the Brother Bernardine Scholars Program took an unexpected turn. Before I get into this part, let me state a few things about Brother Bernardine.
You can drop out at any time.
You must take at least three honors classes per year.
You must attend Math Lab for 16 hours for your entire high school career.
You must be accepted in freshman year.
If you drop out of the program, you may never return.
You must fill “OEA” points (Outside Enrichment Credits), which are points that means that you must go to at least 15 community events (museums, carnivals, etc…) every year, in general.
You must attend a “Town Hall” with the other Scholars at least once a year.

Now, after all of the prerequisites that I mentioned, this actually sounds like a good program, right? Not in my opinion, my sister’s, and my family’s.
Recently, all the seniors of the Brother Bernardine Scholars Program have to do this thing called “the Senior Project”. “The Senior Project” is a project that each senior in the “BB” program do to maintain his or her position in the Scholars Program. If not, the scholar must drop out of the program.
Let me tell you a little bit about “the Senior Project”, with help from my sister in the next few paragraphs:
It can be a research paper, fine arts project, documentary, or field experience.
It has to be completed by Christmas of your senior year. (The “BB” program amended this at the beginning of this year, keep that fact in mind as we go along.)
You must have a mentor teacher at Bishop Kelley.
You get a grade for this project.

Sounds fine, right? Needless to say, it’s not. It’s more like a trail down Dante’s Inferno.
Thanks, Megan. Now, beginning in around October of last year (2016), these projects were being presented to people that are interested in what these Scholars had to say. And I have to say, after going to three of these presentations, which included 5–7 scholars in general, I was satisfied with the work that these scholars have done. However, the Brother Bernandine program thought the opposite.
Many people doing these presentations did not get the grade that they want.
My sister was one person that had trouble doing the Scholars’ project. She offered to drop the Scholars Program to one of the program coordinators of the projects. But, that coordinator said that “it’s all fine," even when my sister offered to drop.
My sister ended up getting a unweighted 3.0 for the class, even though it was “all fine.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I went up to one of my teachers and I do work that is not of good quality, he/she won’t just say “it’s all fine.”
Even though the Senior Project class was a weighted 5.0 GPA scale, which technically meant that my sister got a 4.0 weighted grade, it doesn’t matter in the eyes of most colleges that look at your transcript.
Take a look at this article: http://blog.prepscholar.com/do-colleges-use-weighted-or-unweighted-gpa
What does it say?
Unweighted GPAs do not take the levels of your classes into account. An A in an AP or Honors class will translate into a 4.0 GPA, and so will an A in a low-level class. (PrepScholars)
So, yeah. If you’re in Pre-AP Honors Geometry right now, or starting out as a freshmen in Pre-AP Honors Algebra I, or taking Honors Pre-Calc, or even if you’re taking AP Calc BC, which is one of the hardest classes in my opinion on the BK campus; it doesn’t matter. Your B in Honors Algebra counts just the same as a B in the lowest level of Algebra.
Keep in mind, I don’t have anything against on-level people. But is it really fair for someone taking three times as much work than another on-level person to receive the same amount of credit for the same amount of grades?
I don’t think so.
So, yeah. My sister is sitting at a 3.99 (so close, I wonder why?) and I have a 4.0 GPA average, unweighted, too. Do you think I’ll be one of those stupid people on Judge Judy who’s not going to learn from mistakes?
I don’t think so.
So, that is why I have dropping out of this Scholars Program. I don’t want to take a class that can mess me up. A GPA of 4.0, only to flush it down the toilet with the project’s class? No thank you.
I love BK, its teachers, and I am content with everyone at the school. My friends, my teachers currently (shoutout to Mr. Garesche and Mrs. Clark!), and I don’t even have anything against the disciplinary section of the school.
My sister: Four years of sleepless nights cuddled around the kitchen table with three cups of coffee, not getting more than three hours of sleep on average, sacrificing a social life, and even not attending football games to maintain a “perfect” grade point average?
All. Down. The. Drain.
But hey, don’t worry. “IT’S ALL FINE.”
Alexander Hsieh
Megan Hsieh
And all other Scholars who have silent intentions.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
By the way, they blocked this article at school. Freedom of speech is totally everywhere! The First Amendment is trash, I guess.

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