Investigative Journalism: Has the English Department Ever Given an A on the First Paper? We Think Not!

Friday— We here at The Garlic have published all sorts of investigations. We’ve shown the world the truth about breakfast for lunch, Jack Ryan’s last name, and so much more. But at the start of the new year, we set out to uncover our greatest mystery yet. It’s a difficult task. But we believe we have the smarts, creativity, guts, and ability to write fiction that we need to expose the conspiracy within the English department.

Many English teachers pride themselves on their ability to “teach students” leading to “academic growth.” We at The Garlic set out to discover if this is true, or if the teachers just refuse to give students good grades at the beginning of the year to leave plenty of room for improvement. Last year, in a meeting with a student, Sons of Pitches Fan (he’s downgraded since Kingham left), Ed Schmidt ‘71 told our investigator, “Will, I mean Andrew, don’t be disappointed about your bad grade on this paper and the bad first impression this makes, it looks like you put in effort. And I didn’t give out any grades in the A range on this paper.” That’s an actual quote. Kind of. Close enough. Ignoring the sage advice and kind words, let’s focus on the scandal here. I mean Mr. Schmidt, kids pour their hearts and souls and tutors’ time into these essays, and you didn’t give one kid an A.

But while that settles the issue for one teacher, that could just be the grumpy old curmudgeon in Mr. Schmidt. We had to determine whether or not this was a conspiracy stretching throughout the whole English department. After consulting Alex Cramer ‘17 and Will Cramer ‘18, we have found no evidence of a first paper A. But to really put our hypothesis to the test, we asked The nerds… The smart kids… Those chosen few of “academic superiority.” You know it. We asked the Hawley award winners. Oh, you thought we forgot about academic superiority. You know we didn’t. Still feeling snubbed. But I digress. When asked if they had ever received an A on the first English paper of the year, 9 of the 10 geniuses polled responded, “Of course not, I won the Hawley for a reason. I didn’t choose the A+ life, the A+ life chose me.” The other one responded, “I think you forgot the plus. You know the symbol they use in math class. I didn’t choose the A+ life, my parents chose it for me.” So in conclusion, no the English department does not give out A’s on the first paper.

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