US High school students and teachers react to cheating scandal

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As the fallout from the college admissions scandal continues to unfold in courts in Boston and Los Angeles teachers and pupils at a US high school expressed their dismay with one educator fighting back tears explaining how it’s affected seniors at the school.

Nearly 50 people, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged on Tuesday in what federal authorities say was a $25 million scam to help wealthy Americans get their children into elite universities like Yale and Stanford.

Alicia Semon, who is an English teacher and professor of education at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles reacted to the news, telling Reuters: “I know speaking to my seniors this morning, they’re very upset. I’m getting a little upset right now because they worked so hard to do so much and they’re being cheated and it’s upsetting to them. So I think as an educator someone who…. I grew up in a very impoverished community. My mom made $11 000 here by the time I graduated and yet my brothers and sisters, all of us went to college by our own merits and so I’m here to tell my students that they can do it but it’s sad to see that it’s not always the case.”

Student Connor Finn, who is waiting to find out which colleges have accepted him, said: “It makes the entire process seem a lot less rewarding. I mean, I’ve worked my butt off for four years trying to make myself seem really presentable, studying two hours a week for the SAT and getting all A’s in my classes and then the fact that people can pay hundreds and thousands of dollars and do exactly what I did without the hard work is not rewarding at all.”

Andrew Charroux recently was accepted to Yale and explained how much work goes into completing a successful application.

He said “It’s an insane, insane amount of work these days. It’s much more than just grades, it’s much more than test scores, along with all that and then keeping up with really intense classes. Basically, you have to do community service, be involved in numerous extra curriculars, do community work. You have to do everything these days because it’s so competitive and yeah it takes years of dedication and hard work to get in these days.”

Former pupil at John Marshall High School, Sandy Situ, who was accepted into UCLA, spoke of her feelings about the alleged scam, saying: “The resources that were taken away from them, the chances that they could have achieved something better, maybe all the people who are turned away just for people who could pay their way in. What a sad moment this is for America.”

Loughlin and Huffman are among 50 people charged with taking part in the largest such scandal in US history, which prosecutors said steered graduating high school students into elite universities, including Yale, Georgetown and Stanford, by cheating the admissions process.

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