Column: Administration Makes Freshmen Question: Why Us?
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This school year has been an interesting one so far. A freshman student set a soap dispenser on fire, giving the rest of the upperclassmen a fantastic opinion of the ninth graders. A light-hearted video was made and showed around the school, only to get deleted because of the technically illegal use of a copyrighted song. And of course, all of the new changes that the school decided to implement this year.
At least three big things come to mind, and two of them only affected freshmen. So what is wrong with us? Well, maybe the fact that some of us are compelled to light soap dispensers on fire. But that is besides the point. Why, this year, did the school decide to make all of these changes?
The first, and the most influential change, is the new “Play Like a Champion” motto. It seems like the Class of 2020 cannot seem to escape some type of catchy saying that is supposed to make us into better students. “Respect, Responsibility, Curiosity.” Horace Mann Middle School taught us these terms three years ago. After that we moved on up to Shattuck, whose motto was only a few words away from being exactly like Horace Mann’s: “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe.” Apparently curiosity is no longer something we should strive to have, and instead, we should be careful. Curiosity did kill the cat, as they say. Being safe did not.
We cannot, however, be sure of how effective the word change was, considering this year’s fire.
But now we have grown up, and we are high schoolers. Silly words should be behind us. Now we are expected to know what maturity is, and how to achieve it. The time has finally come to do what we want, to stay up until 1 a.m. doing homework, to be introduced to the world of finals. Perhaps all of those other things are true, but the mottos are sticking around. Just this year, the school decided to introduce “Play Like a Champion.” We spent a big chunk of our first morning at NHS in Pickard Auditorium learning what it meant to “Play Like A Champion.” Personally, I do not hate it. Unlike middle school, these words actually mean something. I can only be glad that I escaped the suffocating grasp of “Rocket Ready.” I do not want to collect Rocket Bucks for being responsible, respectful or safe. My old school used to do the exact same thing; my elementary school.
Then the suicide screening is forced on the freshmen. The school had never done in the past, and even Principal Wunderlich said it was a sort of “trial run” – one that only involved freshmen. I am not complaining, or saying that there is anything wrong with this; I understand that the school wants to expand the idea to the other grades. The only reason that the freshmen were subjected to this was because of the same reasons that Wellness Week exists: the transition to high school is difficult, it is hard to get used to the school, etc. Still, I could not help but to notice that this applied only to freshman.
Lastly, the freshman lunch switches. Now, this topic actually bothers me. I am not going to say that the freshmen are acting like angels or that we are not being loud. If everyone else can hear the noise, that means either they are all wrong or I am. And I am not going to fight that battle; I would surely lose. Honestly, I have not heard a difference in lunch noise levels, but I would not be surprised to hear one.
The reason why this bothers me so much is that it is embarrassing. I am mad at my peers, the ones that are acting ridiculous. A rule should not have to be implemented to correct a high schooler’s lunch room behavior. Any student, even a freshman, should be smart and mature enough to know how to act in a lunch room. The fact that the administration had to interfere is even worse. The few freshmen that are not being responsible make the rest of the freshmen look bad.
I digress. I did not write this column to rant about the misfits in my class. The reality is: this is the first time the lunches have ever been switched this way. At least, as far as I know. I asked Mrs. Beth Plankey, English teacher with 24 years experience at NHS, and she does not remember a lunch switch based on modeling upperclassmen behaviors in the cafeteria.
I am not saying that there is some strange suspicion behind all of this, or that NHS is up to something. I simply question: Why? All of this happened to the freshmen in one year. It makes a freshman ponder: “Is something different about us?” The answer is likely no. The timing of the suicide screener and the “Play Like a Champion” motto is merely coincidental.
But the fire, as well as the lunch switches, can really evoke some thought. What pops up in my head is: “Why is my class so messed up?” Why do we have to be the ones to cause fires? Why do we have to switch lunches? Of course, most freshmen had nothing to do with this. But it makes me worry about my other classmates. Are we the generation of above-average annoying kids? I sure hope not.