What is the Success Indicator?

Rosie Kacenas
Staff Writer

What preludes success? Time and time again students are confronted with criticism from teachers, parents, and peers about being successful in the different areas of their lives. Kayhi’s principal Bob Marshall said he thinks resilience is one of the biggest indicators of success in life.  

“Resilience, to me, is one of the biggest indicators of success in students,” said Marshall. “If they’ve got coping skills and are able to deal with whatever comes their way at this point in life, they might not necessarily get the best grades, but if they can handle the different crises that come their way and figure out how to adjust when they need to, that’s how they’re going to be successful.”

Vice principal Mike Rath said that he agrees with Marshall.

“Along that same theme, a level of independence,” said Rath. “Whether that’s socially, academically, or even physically, the more independent you are the more self-reliant you are.”

A common misconception is that if you don’t have a 4.0 in highschool, you won’t be successful in college, or after college, or ever. It’s easy to believe that grades define success when that’s what you’re told for 12 straight years, but it’s not actually the truth. There are so many different indicators of success, and grades are only one. Though it may seem that you’re a disappointment if you’re not a pro at school, if you ask around, you’ll find that success isn’t only measured by grades.

Psychology Today’s article “The Fallacy of Grades” expressed the importance of internal strengths, beyond getting good grades. The article explained that although getting good grades can be an important part of schooling, internal strengths are a better measure for success. These internal strengths include open mindedness, initiative, curiosity, and respect.

“Internal strengths, like those listed above, are far more important to a life of success and well-being than whether a child earns an “A” on an Algebra exam. In fact, many tests only measure a student’s ability to produce a correctly memorized answer.”

Kayhi’s librarian Caitlin Jacobson agreed that internal strengths are important.

“We get really wrapped up in grades, and grades are important, but the import part of grades is what door they can open,” said Jacobson. “So if you do get a full-ride scholarship to somewhere, that’s fabulous. However, there’s a very small group of people who do, and that makes a difference too. We need to make sure we’re not spending all of our attention on those people and ignoring the other kids who might need extra help to get where they want to go.”

Jacobson also talked about the importance of “play” in human interaction.

“It’s not grades that make us become good humans, it’s how we interact with each other,” said Jacobson. “If we’re not getting enough interaction time to be together and play – well play is how we learn to get along with each other. So we’re taking that away and wondering why we’re not getting along with each other as humans.”

People are always on the search for success. Success is often linked with happiness, so if someone doesn’t feel successful, they might not feel happy. Marshall explained that success can never truly be defined, but often when people find their “purpose” they can start to feel successful.

“When people find what they think their purpose is, I find that’s when people get excited,” said Marshall. “Some people are able to figure that out right after high school, they know what they want, they’ve got dreams and ambitions, they get to it right away – but others are kind of lost for a little bit because there’s that whole idea that when you’re a senior and you graduate you better figure out the rest of your life. We all know that not everyone knows exactly what that is, so just being able to move in a direction that’s still moving you forward and doing whatever you can to achieve your goals, that’s success.”

Kayhi senior Luke Reynolds is well-known around Kayhi and Ketchikan’s community. Anyone who knows him knows that he is extroverted, funny, and charismatic. Because of his outspoken personality, Reynolds exudes success. Though not known for a 4.0 or outstanding test scores, no one would look at him and think he might fail. Because he follows his passions, the people around him think of him as a role-model.

Rath explained that Reynolds is a prime example of how students can be known for more than good grades.

“There’s something eclectic about people like Luke, there’s no way to explain it,” said Rath. “But some people find a passion run with it, and I think eclectic people find a number of passions.”


Marshall agreed that Reynolds’ confidence sets him up for success in life.

“The thing about Luke specifically is that he takes risks,” said Marshall. “He takes risks that not all his peers are willing to take, you know he really puts himself out there for a laugh or just because he’s a thrillseeker. He puts himself out there to have fun, and I think when he loves something he’s full-boar.”

When it comes to success, everyone has a different story. Internal strengths are just as important as grades, and whether you’re a 4.0 student or not, success can be achieved in one way or another.

“We never know where kids are gonna end up and the choices they’re gonna make and how they’re gonna develop and change,” said Jacobson. “I think that’s just part of life – you don’t know where it’s gonna take you.”

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