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Best in Class

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on 4 February 2016

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Transcript of Best in Class

Question 2:
In paragraph 14, Talbot refers toher own experience in high school. What is the effect of this personal element?
Sarasota Act 2
“Kylie Barker.. who told me recently that she had wanted to be valedictorian ‘pretty much forever.’”
“Kennedy remembers finally ‘convincing everybody to agree reluctantly-and I do mean extremely reluctantly-to have co-valedictorians.’”
“it became apparent that several seniors were deadlocked in the race to become valedictorian...Kennedy saw no particular reason to worry.”
“‘...What possible problem could those great kids cause?’”
“‘The principal was trying to make everybody happy, and when you do that there’s always somebody who isn’t,’”
“As we drove past sugary-white beaches, high-rise hotels, and prosperous strip malls, he told me that the ensuing controversy...”


The Drama: Sarasota
Point of view taken from the principal
The separate actions of the students and the principals could draw a variety of emotional responses
Purposeful use of many facts and quotations
The "So What" of Stephanie Klotz
Klotz’s point of view
Her actions show she is aiming for something more important than G.P.A.
Empathy for her in her valedictorian experience
Question 5:
Beginning with paragraph 25, Talbot presents some historical background on the American high school. How would the effect of this information have differed if she had opened the article with it?
Ah, so that's why this existed
Position of valedictorian gave students a set goal in studying.
Fewer people graduated and more people were interested.
Facts and historical contexts define the counterargument
Thank you for listening!
And remember, y'all are special!!
Best in Class
More Facts About Facts
More on Klotz
Facts, More Facts and Key Anecdotes
Question 1:
And, We're Back?
Margaret Talbot spends a good deal of time at the outset of the essay describing the situation at Sarasota High School and then returns to it at the end; however, her primary subject is neither that school nor its students. What is her rhetorical strategy in examining this one school in such depth?
Question 7
Does this essay rely more heavily on logos or pathos? Cite specific examples to illustrate your response.
Speaker and Audience
New Yorker Staff Writer:
Margaret Talbot
Audience is the anyone related or a part of the school system.

Why the ambiguity?
Talbot talks about her own years as a student (relatable)
statistics emphasize the increased competitiveness with time
facts are chosen to stir resentment in the audience
conversational diction used in the setting of an interview
similar sentence structures from before now aim to support and flow with Klotz's views
“[M]y mom wouldn’t let [the dead deer] in the house, and I was like, ‘Daddy, can I play with the head?’”
“I had so many plaques I literally couldn’t carry them off stage, and I’m, like, ‘Oh,yeah,right, I’m not valedictorian?’”
“a time when we were told that our most illustrious alumnus was Bert Convy,”
“(Many small private schools came to this conclusion long ago, and never adopted the valedictorian tradition)”
“...each of the school’s many valedictorians will speak at the ceremony, where, one hopes, the chairs will be comfortable.”
“”Nobody in college cares about your having been valedictorian..’”
“you must excel in classes that don’t interest you or are poorly taught-the valedictorians had ‘used their strong work ethic to pursue multiple academic and extracurricular interests...’”
“exceptional adult achievers” are differentiated from “valedictorians”
“(If we’re trying to be more sensitive, doesn’t it make ordinary students feel worse when they can’t be one of several dozen valedictorians?)
“(Their sample is, admittedly, narrow)”
“the opportunity to appear before an audience...must have been heady at a time when modesty and self-effacement were the constant counsel for young women.”
Flashback to recent interview with Cheryl Barker (point of view)
Argument concession or satire?
Passive voice creates an unbiased tone.
Facts about Facts (pt. 2)
“Brian Delekta..asking that he be credited with an A-plus, instead of an A...asked for a restraining order on the publication of class rankings.”
“Hornstine had an unspecified illness that caused “substantial fatigue,”... had taken many of her classes at home, with private tutors.”
"[P]leasing image of a purer meritocracy."
“a brutally competitive age in which the dividing line between those who go to college and those who don’t may be the most significant fissure in American society”
“you must excel in classes that don’t interest you or are poorly taught-the valedictorians had ‘used their strong work ethic to pursue multiple academic and extracurricular interests...’”
“[H]ow determined she was, how she never missed a day of school, how she’d go to the library all the time to use the computer because they didn’t have one at home.”
“Everyone’s so afraid of getting sued or losing their jobs these days.”
"They deserve something special to strive for.”
Full transcript