- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Rhode Island middle school has reinstated its long-running “Honors Night” event after its cancellation made national news and prompted a wave of backlash.

Archie R. Cole Junior High School in East Greenwich had canceled its “Honors Night” event for exceptional students because school officials were afraid its “exclusive nature” would make others feel left out.

Principal Alexis Meyer and Assistant Principal Dan Seger sent a letter to parents saying that the school would instead recognize students during “team-based recognition ceremonies and graduation.”

“This will afford us the opportunity to celebrate the individual and collective successes of all students and their effort, progress, and excellence,” the school argued.

News of the change spread like wildfire, with many people arguing that it would encourage mediocrity and discourage kids from trying harder to make the honors list next time.

Now, school officials are walking back the decision, announcing there has been a change of heart and that they “have decided to honor excellence as we had planned,” the East Greenwich Patch reported.

The difference now is that the honors celebration will be held “at a traditional evening event,” similar to the sports awards ceremony held each year to honor student athletes, the blog said.

“Our original communication would have benefited from more clarity regarding the change in the format for honoring student excellence,” Miss Meyer and Mr. Seger said in a statement. “We are exceedingly proud of the outstanding achievements of Cole students and obviously had no intention of failing to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary student accomplishment in its many forms.”

The awards ceremony for high achieving students will be planned for some night in June, the Patch reported.