Blair Hornstine, the sole and only and nobody-else valedictorian of Moorestown High skipped her graduation; her name was not mentioned during the ceremony. The salutatorian-not-co-valedictorian, Kennety Mirkin, got a standing ovation.
The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last, a Moorestown High grad, provides background on how Blair got the highest grade point average: In 9th grade, she got an A+ in Latin 1, which she’d already taken in middle school. As a sophomore, she dropped AP U.S. History, taught by a teacher who never gives an A+; she received an A+ the next year from her home tutor. At the end of 11th grade, with a GPA over 4.3, Blair got a doctor’s note waiving her from phys ed classes. Her father got her freshman and sophomore gym grades — A and A+ — removed from her transcript. The unweighted A was worth a mere 4.0 and the A+ 4.3.
Just before GPAs are calculated to determine the valedictorian, at the end of the first semester of senior year, Judge Hornstine got Blair out of AP European History, one of only two classes she was taking at school, not from a home tutor. He said she was too exhausted to continue. She was getting a GPA-lowering A-.
And while she was on home instruction, Blair’s experience was markedly different from that of other students. At the most basic level, she had about half as much class time as school-bound students, freeing her up for extracurricular activities. (When asked by the Discover Card scholarship how she got everything on her résumé done, she replied, “There’s plenty of time in the day!”) Her education plan stipulated that she would be allowed “more time to take tests and quizzes,” and “will not be required to take more than one test or examination per day.” What’s more, “When absent or significantly fatigued, teachers will make appropriate accommodations to due dates for assignments. The parents will advise teachers when Blair has been too fatigued or otherwise unable to complete or to submit work in timely fashion.”
The nature of Blair’s immune-system disability is a mystery– or a myth.
“I think that the view is there is not a genuine disability,” explains a parent from the community. “And if there is any disability, it was inflicted by the father. . . . I think most people’s view is that this man put so much pressure on his daughter to be perfect that she literally is a nervous basket case.”
. . . In June 2001, Blair was given the Congressional Award Gold Medal. To qualify for this honor, students must complete and document 400 hours of voluntary public service, 200 hours of personal development, 200 hours of physical fitness, and a 4-day exploration. Kelly Fanning, from the Congressional Awards office, says, “For her physical fitness she did jogging, power-walking, and dance.” Moorestown High School students, it should be noted, take roughly 75 hours of Phys. Ed. class per year.
On the other hand, Blair’s father was running her charity drives, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Hornstines hired New Jersey’s most prominent mob attorney to press her case, Kimberly Swygert notes. And poor Blair won’t escape her father at Harvard. He’s been hired as an adjunct professor of law.
Adam Tow has the complete Blair Hornstine Project, with comments from her supporters — six of whom share the same IP address.
The Hornstines are still suing the district for $2.7 million. I’m still predicting a nervous breakdown for Blair — or a lawsuit against Harvard. Or both.