SAT cheating culprit speaks


Today, America’s list of scandals is nothing compared to what it once was. We now deal with things like celebrity breast implants — who needs to fix their botched boob job  — and the royal Will and Kate’s wedding — one of my friends actually missed school last year to see the latter’s TV special, which isn’t a problem, but it just demonstrates what kind of events the news focuses on. 

Our respectable news broadcasting is having its bar lowered. The American population seems to have a hard time concentrating on the important information out there; no one is talking about the end of the Iraq War or the social unrest in Greece.

Unimportant social media is what we crave, and is now what we get. Most recently, an embarrassing scandal in the town I come from qualified as national news. 

Take Sam Eshaghoff, a sophomore at Emory University from my hometown of Great Neck, New York. The 19-year-old student is currently facing arraignment on scheming to defraud, criminal impersonation and other charges that could result in up to four years in jail, all for illegally taking the SATs for at least six people.

I had a similar opinion to this national news when I read about Heidi Montag’s 10-procedure plastic surgery on a reputable news site. I was absolutely disgusted. 

But the juicy details get even juicier: Eshaghoff earned up to $2,500 per test if he secured his client a good score. Yes, he calls the kids he took the tests for his clients — how professional!

He even referred to his service as life-saving in his 15-minute claim-to-fame on a “60 Minutes” interview. His “business” seems eerily similar to that of a prostitute, or whatever type of selling-yourself-job you want to call it.

Even before this scandal, Great Neck schools were being denounced for inflating grades and for our students for buying their credibility and talents — because apparently that’s buyable now.

Now John L. Miller Great Neck North High School can proudly cherish their wonderful alumnus like Sam Eshagoff and an abundance of other over privileged and entitled students, like Eshaghoff’s girlfriend, who proudly displayed the “60 Minutes” interview on Facebook.

 The worst is the amount of pride these “clients” displayed after the scandal. I remember walking around my high school hearing kids brag about their purchased SAT score.

The truth leaked after bouts of bragging and the emergence of a mass of college acceptances that didn’t quite fit the bill.

 But even more horrible is this strong desire for fame. All the parents, students and friends acquainted with the “cheating SAT kids” want to be nationally noticed: they take pride in their children’s mistaken and undeserved acceptances to top-ranked universities.

 News trucks and cameramen came to North High School to interview students and catch the latest details on the scandal. Kids crowded the news anchors, hoping for an interview, their own 15 minutes of fame.

 Wendy David-Gaines, a Long Island College prep examiner, noted, “colleges are not informed when test results occur from SAT scams.” So who’s getting punished now?

 This is typical of a wealthy, privileged society. What I have learned is that money and reputation can solve all problems for everyone from Eshaghoff to O.J. Simpson, although, Mr. Eshaghoff is not equivalent in any way whatsoever to the famous O.J. in reputation or respect.

 As Newsday reported, Eshaghoff’s “actions made a mockery of concepts like merit and effort.” It’s a shame that these kinds of stories provide our broadcast networks and newspapers with groundbreaking “news”. If anything, this is just mere entertainment to see if the criminal gets what he deserves.