Less stress, more spirit
Picture the classic Hollywood por-trayal of high school: students spending hours each day after school with friends, people skipping class to reconnect with their significant other, and hundreds of fans cheering on the football team as they score a touchdown. Hollywood’s version of high school is fun, carefree, and relaxing. However, for decades now, people have entered high school only to realize two unfortunate truths—high school is not easy, and it contains few similarities to a Hollywood movie.
The amount of stress that LM students have to deal with today has taken the meaning of stress to a whole new level. The pressure placed on students is not only affecting students’ health and happiness, but it is negatively affecting school spirit.
Take sporting events, for example. There are dozens of pictures displayed from years past of the Dawg Pound pack-ing into the Bryant Gymnasium bleach-ers like a can of sardines. Outstanding student turnouts were not only common at Friday night games during the season but for most weekday games as well. Students were proud of their school and set aside time to create these amazing high school memories. It appears at first glance that LM students in more recent years are simply not as committed to showing the special school spirit that has separated LM from many other high schools.
But, when the issue is examined more closely, it be-comes clear that LM students did not lose their school spirit. Rather, what has happened in the past few years is that the increased amount of pressure placed on students has made it more challenging for them to find times within their busy schedules to attend these events. For example, junior Emily Bartos shares that she spends at least three and a half hours each school night doing homework. This incredible commitment to completing assignments does not leave a significant amount of free time for LM students.
Not only are students pushed to maintain stellar grades and receive near perfect SAT and ACT scores, but they are also greatly encouraged to immerse themselves in all activities that could embellish their résumés. It is unfortunate that students cannot devote their time to activities that interest them and make them happy, rather than simply to the activities that supposedly build up their reputations. Sadly, with all the pressure that fills our school, many students find it increasingly difficult to make time for the events that they actually enjoy. After long and arduous days of many activities and hours of homework, most students simply do not have the time to show their school spirit.
The overbearing pressure that is deteriorating the lives of LM students must change.
To maximize the efficiency of homework, the district should enforce strict-er policies for when teachers can add assignments. Too many teachers take advantage of the ability to post online assignments at late hours or over week-ends. Administration should monitor strictly when teachers post homework or at least when such homework is due after posting. This way, students will not need to cram to complete assignments late at night that could have been completed earlier had they been notified at a more reasonable time.
LM should also work hard to either revert back to some of their old traditions that brought out the school spirit in many students or to provide more opportunities to celebrate school spirit. For example, Powderpuff, part of Radnor Week, used to be played on the turf football field. About five years ago, the game was moved to the small field in the back of the LM parking lot. This change in location lowered the thrill of the event and may have deterred students from considering it an important part of the LM experience to attend. Additionally, LM should add more pep rallies throughout the year to excite students during every sports season, not just before the LM-Radnor football game. By having more pep rallies, spirit will continuously be reinstated throughout the year.
Sure, high school may not be quite the thrill of a Hollywood movie, but high schoolers still deserve to have fun. Students should be encouraged to do well academically without being crushed by an overbearing amount of pressure. LM can lessen the pressure by facilitating a more humane assignment process and encouraging more school traditions in order for students to fully enjoy some of the best years of their lives.
Feb. 22, 2017
Shuli Weinstein '18