Most likely to… The convoluted process of the senior superlative contest

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Every year, Staples seniors purchase yearbooks to immortalize their final year of high school. One of the more traditional and popular sections in the book is the senior superlative section, where seniors are voted for by their classmates in categories such as “Life of the Party,” “Most likely to win an Oscar,” or even “Little Mr./Ms. Chatterbox.”

The process to putting together this section, though, is a long one. Rosie Levenson `11, the Photo Editor for the yearbook and editor of the senior section, explains that the yearbook staff’s process of deciding senior superlatives categories combined methods from the past with newer ones.

“[We try to] keep it consistent with what we did in past years with different names and from there we compile a big list and everyone [on the senior section] votes on what will be most successful including the entire yearbook staff,” Levenson said.

After that, the staff hands out open-ended ballots to the seniors during lunch March 16, and would collect them after seniors write in their nominees for their categories.

This leads to the long part: counting the hundreds of votes.

“From those open-ended sheets we tallied every single vote for every single category and the amount of votes that each person who was given a vote received,” Levenson said. “Then the top three voted people were the nominees [on the final ballot].”

It was from there that the winners were voted on the next day. Some nominees, upon finding out they were among the final three of a particular category, attempted to campaign the senior class to vote for them in a variety of ways.

Adele Shenoy `11, who edited the academic section of the yearbook and worked with Levenson on the senior section, said that there were some successful campaigns, but that just “talking around school…[didn’t] help that much.”

“Some of the Facebook [campaigns] helped,” Shenoy said. “Some people who wanted Best Dance Moves set it as their status with a picture of them [which helped].”

Other students barely campaigned at all, relying instead on their reputations to bring them votes.

Morgan Goldberg `11, who won “Little Ms. Chatterbox,” was one of those students.

“I told a few people to vote for me but I really wasn’t campaigning that much,” Goldberg said. “I think that people know how much I talk, particularly the people in my classes and that have known me [before].”

Max Samuels ‘11, who won Most Likely to Win an Oscar, did not campaign either, but Samuels and Goldberg both used one method to help their respective causes.

“I did vote for myself, that’s true,” Samuels said.

Once the votes were cast and collected, the yearbook staff once again counted through the ballots to find who the winners were for each superlative.

One of the hardest parts of counting those ballots was seeing if any voters were trying to hand in more than one ballot to ensure that certain people won.

“It was really hard to do, since people were handing it in all at the same time Shenoy said. “If one person handed us 10 copies, obviously we didn’t take all of them, other than that it was really hard to judge.”

Shenoy also mentioned that the staff could have looked at some of the checkmarks to see if they showed any patterns to tip them off that someone was voting multiple times.

Levenson, however, mentioned how some voters tried to copy their filled out ballots, but that the yearbook staff was on top of it.

“We threw out those votes,” Levenson said. “If there was one that was…clearly copied we did not count [it].”

The process of deciding senior superlatives may have been a long one, but the results will not go unnoticed.

“I was actually really excited when I heard that I would be nominated,” Goldberg said. “I think it’s cool that I’ll still be remembered, that people when they look back at the superlatives [will] know that I was the most talkative person in the class of 2011.”

Samuels agreed, emphasizing that winning for acting and performing, which he has done for all of his four years at Staples, made it even greater.

“[Acting and performing] was something that I put a lot of time into in high school, and to be recognized for that is great,” Samuels said. “I’m excited 40 years from now to crack open that yearbook.”