A Blast from the Past: Senior Class Superlatives
Maria Fernanda McCavitt and Maya Kuipers
December 2, 2011
Filed under Student Life
Best Smile, Prettiest Hair, Craziest, Most Friendly, Best Dressed, Most Athletic, Most Likely to Succeed. These are all not only ways to describe someone, but are examples of senior class superlatives. Class superlatives are the polls that are meant to determine what the student body believes are the students with the best qualities and most potential, but also can make foolish observations. While you might see something like class polls as a topic that is silly and insignificant, they may be a window to the future, and the past.
While the students who create the polls don’t have prophetic, other-worldly powers of prediction, they do have luck and logic on their side. High school is a time when people start to become themselves. High School is when you gain preferences, freedom, and control in your life. You originate yourself through your personality, habits, and style. In other words, you start to become an adult. So it would make sense to assume that accurate predictions and observation about your life can be made in high school. The staff of the Woodside World tracked down some WHS alumni to see how they have fared over the years.
Marilyn Loushin Miller was voted most likely to succeed in Woodside High School’s senior class of 1961. Until recently, she was the superintendent of the Hillsborough School District. Now retired, she is on the board of trustees at Coyote Point’s CuriOdyssey. Miller was also recognized as extremely successful by the California House of Representatives when honoring her past middle school. The Woodside World attempted to contact Miller, but was unfortunately unsuccessful in getting a response.
Ms. Leslie Pedrin has been a Physical Education teacher at Woodside for many years. She is also one of the many teachers that is a Woodside alumni. Her father, Mr. Camera, was a teacher here. In an
interview, Ms. Pedrin said she attended Woodside because “they had an awesome basketball team, and basketball was always my sport. They also had a really great coach, Bill Guttornson, whom the gym is named after.” She was the star player in an array of sports, including volleyball, softball and basketball throughout her time at Woodside. She said “I always loved the whole sports thing.”
During her senior year, Ms. Pedrin earned the title of “most athletic” in her senior class. “I started coaching here in ‘95 with my dad and have been coaching here ever since. People would always ask me what I wanted to do- I always knew I wanted to be a PE teacher because I had such a great experience. I even got hired for the job by my old coach” told Ms. Pedrin.
Mr. Thurston was a graduate of Woodside’s class of 1962 and taught at WHS for many years. In 1961, Mr. Thurston was voted to have “Done Most for the School” and to have the “Best Build” (Build being the person with the best frame). He commented that the superlatives were “pretty superficial back then, more than now.” At Woodside, Mr. Thurston was involved in student government saying that his class had to “set up the school commissions.” After graduating from Woodside, he attended UCLA. He went back to WHS and was hired by his former basketball coach. When asked why he thought we no longer had superlatives refering to body types and such, he explained that “people monitor what they say now and are more aware of what they say about others.”
So, what is all the fuss about? If you think about it, who doesn’t want to be told that they are funny, pretty, handsome, athletic, kind, helpful or smart? Who doesn’t want to have their ego blown up a little? Plus, there seem to be class polls for everything. They range from physical aspects, to skills, to personality, to silly observations. Although these polls are meant purely for fun, they can sometimes become true predictions of a person’s future, or put a label on someone that they feel they have to keep up with.
If, for example, you and your boyfriend/girlfriend were voted cutest couple, would you feel under pressure to stay together, even if feelings faded? If you were voted most likely to succeed, would you feel as though you must attend an Ivy League university, or become the next Steve Jobs?
These results do make you think though. Have these events provided encouragement or have their recipients become the victims of undeniable circumstance? Just because you are voted most likely to become successful, you are not guaranteed a spot as the CEO of a major corporation. The recipients of these acknowledgements should strive to maintain their goals through merit and hard work, not chance. You should not make these polls anything more than they are meant to be: fun.
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