I have never hacked into the computers in order to change my grades. I have never used a hacking device to access tests.

I have never attended a tutor who assisted me in changing grades, but I have felt the pressure that would lead a student to feel as though cheating is the only option to get into a "good college."

The cheating scandal has brought a lot of knowledge to Corona del Mar High's campus, but I think we should focus on the pressure that would prompt multiple intelligent and capable students to turn to cheating as their ticket to success.

The academics at CdM have become so competitive and cutthroat that often even the brightest students feel like they aren't smart enough. Anything can be self-justified and therefore attempting to get an A in a class can easily turn into cheating.

Imagine this: You have an 89% in math, and you have one final test before the end of the semester. You feel as though you have to do well even though you've heard the final is extremely difficult. You justify an extremely difficult test as unfair, and so if you cheat on an unfair test, it isn't THAT bad.

This downward spiral of self-justification, along with external and internal pressure, can easily lead to a cheating scandal.

The student misconduct is appalling and unjust, but as a fellow CdM student it's easy to understand how one could get sucked into the scandal. It's important to look at the causes to prevent the effects. As a community we should use this event to bring us closer together, rather than further apart.

There are countless intelligent students at CdM who also have integrity. The small minority of students who were involved in the scandal should not overshadow those who are hardworking and honest. I have been proud to call myself a Sea King for the past five years, and I am still proud to this day.

MADISON "Maddie" TENEBAUM is a 16-year-old junior at Corona del Mar High School.