tampabay.com

The least likely superlative

A parent's protest puts an end to some less coveted senior votes.

By TAMARA EL-KHOURY
Published April 10, 2007


EAST LAKE - High school seniors of every generation, in virtually every high school participate in an annual ritual to vote for the senior most likely to succeed and the one with the best eyes.

Then there's East Lake High School, where seniors not only have voted on the top of the class, but also on those with the worst hair or who are most likely to drop out of college.

Until Monday.

After a parent called the Times to complain about the less-coveted awards, East Lake principal Clayton Snare scratched off those two categories.

"I just don't need this fight, I don't need this battle, if there's a parent that feels this strongly about it," Snare said.

Traditionally, it's all been done in good fun, he said. But if there is a likelihood that any student may be offended or hurt by the superlative they were nominated for, Snare said, it's taken out before it's announced at the senior breakfast.

"My intent is not to make anyone feel bad. The intent is good natured and the seniors laugh a lot...," he said.

So in honor of a Saturday Night Live skit the award for most likely to live in a van down by the river is still in the mix.

There is no reason for anyone to be offended, said senior class president Karsten Farrell, 17.

"I was at senior breakfast last year and no one cried," he said.

Gag gifts are bought for the winners. Perhaps a toothbrush for the senior voted best teeth and sunglasses for the winner of best eyes, Farrell said.

But not every laugh is a good laugh, said William Strauss, a generational historian who has co-authored several books on the millennial generation.

"You can say there's no intent but I'm not sure anyone wants to be named most likely to drop out unless you pick the school valedictorian and turn it into a total joke," he said.

None of the superlatives made senior Valerie Bagenski, 18, cringe.

"It's something someone should just laugh at and say, 'Yeah, well, it's high school. Everyone is going to grow up,' " she said.

Farrell said he respects the opinion of anyone who is concerned. He said he is confident the votes reflect "the will of the people" and said he foresees that at the senior breakfast "people will go up, win the award and have a good laugh."

Too bad there's no superlative for most likely to be a diplomat.