By Margaret Zheng
We, the students of CRN, do not have school spirit. Yet.
We dress up during Spirit Week, flaunting superhero capes and athlete – or mathlete! – attire. We enthusiastically compete at Blue and White Night and flock to school social events, all while contributing to charity. That all is great – teens, of course, must have fun. But those events are not enough for school spirit.
I claim we can only be spirited if we strive to improve our school, not just in the social and extracurricular realms, but also in any aspect of school that concerns us, including academics and policies. We cannot simply be proud of our school – we must care enough about it to make it how we want it.
After all, school is about us, the students, and how we are learning and living. We care about diamondback turtles and panda bears, rallying for their protection, despite the animals’ absence in most of our daily lives. How can we then not care about school, an institution not for the benefit of distant others, but of ourselves? School does not have to just be something to go through and get over with. We can make it more fun and fulfilling for all of us, including future classes of students, if we get active and creative.
We inherit many aspects of school from earlier generations of youth, even from the long-ago Industrial Age, but our world has greatly evolved. Technological and social innovations have shifted our culture and make us differently desirous than high schoolers of just four years past. School personnel have directed some adaptations of school to current trends, but not being teenagers, they often can only guess. We, as spirited students of Council Rock, must get involved ourselves.
What if when we feel like complaining about teachers, we ask them why they teach us the way they do? What if when we feel what we are learning is boring or irrelevant, we begin a discussion about the purpose of our studies, sharing our ideas about what or how we could learn instead? What if when we question our dress code or technology usage policies, we find out the rationale behind them, and if we still disagree, propose an alternative policy, possibly presenting it to the School Board? Everyone talks about the upcoming national election, but few keep up with the politics of our own school district, which directly impacts and concerns us.
Decisions are made about school routinely without students' participation, and not wholly because they are disallowed. There are many ways to learn about school issues and make your voice heard, including speaking with your teachers and class officers. You can also attend School Board and Committee meetings and listen to the discussion of district-wide matters, perhaps volunteering a comment. (Information about the meetings is on the district website.)
Additionally, to satisfy tech-savvy students, I offer a new way for you to contribute to educational dialogue, through the convenience of the web. Use this survey to share your ideas on topics to be discussed at Academic Standards Committee meetings. I will collect your responses and report them at the meetings. For spirited students, there is no excuse for letting their concerns be unheard.
Throughout the country, a movement spreads. Students everywhere realize that though school isn't perfect, they can make it change. They strive hard to not just be "schooled," but educated the way they want to be.
Do we have the spirit to join them?