Breakfast of Scholarly Champions

Seniors in the top decile are honored at banquet

On the morning of Friday, April 20, you may have smelled pancakes, sausages, and other breakfast items coming from the commons. That’s because the top decile breakfast was in session.

The breakfast is an annual tradition that honors students with the highest GPA in the senior class. The “top decile” in this case refers to the students with GPAs that fall in the highest ten percent of the class, which is generally students with at least a 4.0 GPA.

Debbie Embrey, testing coordinator and senior class sponsor, is one of the people behind the planning of the breakfast.

“The top decile banquet has always been a nice way to honor those students that have excelled academically,” Embrey said. “It is nice to recognize them for all of their hard work and dedication to reaching this goal.”

Each student honored chose a teacher or staff member to speak about him or her. The short speeches given are always memorable moments.

“There always seems to be a teacher that gives a speech that brings the crowd to tears with their stories and memories of the great impact the student has made on them,” Embrey said.

Senior Brianna Jenkins was one of the students who made it to the top ten percent. She attributes her achievement to the hard work she put in.

“I think the reason that I’m in the top decile is because I did everything I could possibly do and more,” Jenkins said.

Senior Sara Massei also believes that effort can take you a long way, as it did for her.

“I didn’t really care about school until my junior year, but then I put in a lot of hard work,” Massei said. “Spanish is the class that changed everything for me.”

Both Massei and Jenkins chose Spanish teacher Nancy Fermoselle to represent them. Fermoselle was asked by several students in the past, so she has a system for planning her short speech.

“I usually start with a letter of recommendation that I have written. I edit it to sound less formal, much more conversational, and add an anecdote about my relationship with the student over the years,” Fermoselle said.

She said that both students are “motivated and…happen to be naturally intelligent, so if there were a few assignments that didn’t get turned in, it didn’t hurt either one of them too much.”

Fermoselle believes that honoring the top graduates for academics is very important.

“We consistently celebrate athletes, musicians, artists, newspaper writers, and students who do well in various club competitions,” Fermoselle said. “Graduation is about academics. It’s the one time that your academic standing means more than everything else you accomplish in high school. Since we don’t tell students their specific ranking or celebrate valedictorians or salutatorians anymore, it’s nice to at least celebrate the top decile recognizing what they have achieved.”

Art teacher Christena Smith agrees that celebrating these students with a breakfast is a great idea.

“I do like the breakfast idea,” Smith said. “It is the celebration and recognition of students who have worked hard to achieve a goal.”

Smith has been asked by senior Cullen Dinneen to represent her at the breakfast.

“Cullen works every day – art requires an artist to always be trying out new things,” Smith said.

Dinneen was excited to see her friends and her teachers, who she said “had faith in her to succeed in her classes.”

What you should do if you want to be in top decile when it’s time to graduate? According to Dinneen you need to “put your best effort in even when you feel like you don’t have the motivation.”

This advice will serve these graduates well in their future endeavors.