Senior superlatives are anything but super

By Melanie Goldberg

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It’s that time of year again, when seniors hoping to score a superlative begin eyeing each other suspiciously in the halls, sizing up their competition.Students put a lot of stock in senior superlatives, but how much do they really impact our lives?

In some ways, superlatives could be a lot more interesting. Awards like Best Eyes, Best Hair or Senior Hottie reward those lucky enough to be genetically blessed instead of awarding seniors for their own personality quirks. There is more to life than being really, really ridiculously good -looking.

Superlatives pigeonhole kids into stereotypes that define their high school legacies. Most Likely to be Successful probably took seven APs during their junior year, but maybe he or she wants to be remembered for more than just their academic prowess. And what parents would want to tell their kids that they won Most Dazed and Confused in high school? Superlatives only reinforce high school stereotypes about band geeks, hotties and jocks that many spend the rest of their lives trying to escape.

Plus, superlatives put a lot of pressure on the winners’ futures. If Most Likely to be Successful isn’t the Bill Gates of his or her twenty year high school reunion, he or she’s failed to live up to his superlative. On the other hand, if Still Getting Lost in Bethesda even makes it, he’s exceeded all expectations.

But maybe more straightforward superlatives would level the playing field a bit — Most Likely to be Completely Mediocre, Most Obnoxious Twilight Fan, or Most Likely to Walk into the Stairwell Doors. Instead of Most Likely to be on Broadway, how about Most Likely to Complain During Hell Week?

However, some superlatives retain their sentimentality as the years pass. Best Dressed rewards real, genuine commitment to looking fresh even at 7:20 a.m. The Best Couple may not survive college or thereafter, but they’ll always be able to look back in their yearbook on their high school sweetheart.

In the meantime, I’m beginning my campaign for an award (or several) in 2012. If all else fails, I can always win Most Desperate for a Superlative.

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