BFA’s Academic Pins-Students Respond


A gold academic pin. Photo credit: Jessica Southwick

Zoe Walent, Writer

Each year, Bellows Free Academy gives out academic pin awards to students who have made top grade achievements. A student who reaches a 3.9 GPA or higher receives a gold pin, a student who reaches 3.7-3.89 GPA receives a silver pin and a student who reaches a 3.5-3.69 GPW receives a bronze pin.

This has been a tradition at BFA as a way to congratulate students for reaching academic excellence. The Mercury staff sent out a survey to the BFA student body to gauge their opinions on the academic pins.

Of the 41 students who responded to the survey, the majority of the students who responded to the survey feel neutral about the pins.

Despite this, 95% of the students who responded to the survey believe that BFA should keep the tradition, though some things about it should be changed. A lot of the feedback included the potential for unfairness because BFA doesn’t use a weighted grading system. 

“I would like to see the pins continue, just with some changes. Maybe expanding the process to include weighted GPAs. I see a lot of hard-working, high-achieving students who don’t get pins despite their difficult courses because their overall grades are a bit lower than the bar, and I don’t think that’s fair,” Rachel Ledoux (’24) said.

Because of BFA’s unweighted grading system, any student who takes higher-level courses receive the same level grade as someone who reached that same grade in a normal-level course. Therefore, if a student were to get all 4’s in their normal-level course, and another student received all 4’s in their higher level courses, they would have the same overall GPA.

Because pins are based on how your grades are without taking into consideration the difficulty level, a lot of students’ hard work is overlooked. 

A senior, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I think that the pins are a good way to celebrate academic achievement, but there are some changes that could benefit them. Making the grading scale for the pins weighted could help. That way, students taking non advanced classes can get a gold pin for getting 4s while students taking AP classes and getting 3.5s and 4s can also get a gold pin.”

Generally, students like the pins; some participants in the survey agreed that it is a great motivation to work towards a higher grade as well as a satisfying way to be recognized for your hard work.