An invitation to Katelyn Campbell and other GWHS highest honors graduates.

Dear Katelyn,

I was impressed to read about your willingness to take a stand against your high school's factually inaccurate pro-abstinence assembly, especially given your high school principal's (predictable) threat to retaliate.

I was similarly impressed (though not surprised) by the response of my alma mater, Wellesley College, to your principled stand.

I am disappointed to learn that, despite earlier promises, your high school seems to be using the cover of "streamlining graduation exercises" to deny you and other highest honors graduates at George Washington High School the chance you were promised months ago to speak briefly about topics of your choice at your commencement.

One would hope that educators who value the education they are helping to deliver in a robust way would also value the perspectives of the students who are supposed to be at the center of the teaching and learning that is happening at the school. You are not mere products coming off an assembly line. You are members of our community whose thoughts and ideas, whose hopes and anxieties, should matter to us as we try to educate you, and to help you move into the world as adults who can keep learning and growing outside the bounds of classrooms or formal learning environments.

What you and your fellow classmates had prepared to say at your commencement matters, and we would benefit from hearing it.

Thus, I would like to invite you and your fellow highest honors graduates at George Washington High School to use my virtual podium here to deliver your remarks. Drop me an email and we can sort out the details of how you'd like to do that.

Thanks for continuing to stand up for fairness and for facts.

Warmest regards,

Janet D. Stemwedel
Wellesley College class of 1989

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