(It was unintended on my part to make this into a “race” issue. I have edited out any references to race. My focal point is inclusion of all students in spirit related activities.)
As a previous teacher and administrator of Payson High School, a parent of two PHS graduates, the sibling of four PHS graduates, and a resident and taxpayer I have read with great interest about happenings in and around Payson High School.
Recently a local dentist wrote a guest editorial about a “new” spirit at Payson High School and tied it into voting for an override. http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2014/sep/09/vote-can-change-so-much-school-override/ In describing the crowd at the first home football game he writes: “I have never in my 19 years of residence in Payson seen anything like it and I pity the next team the Longhorns meet at home and I can’t wait to see it.”
First of all is it quite possible that he missed many of these types of events in his 19 years of residency because he didn’t attend football games? During his 19 years, PHS won two state football championships (1998 and 2008) and I can guarantee you that the fever at football games was no less then what he describes. The 2008 Championship game is arguably the most exciting 3A Championship Game of all time and attendance was incredible. During the 2008 football season, football gate receipts were at an all time high and helped provide funding for many of the other teams. I did get a laugh on this comment, “I pity the next team the Longhorns meet at home”. Really?
There is nothing wrong with the enthusiasm to pass an override. One can offer up support without the hyperbole.
As I transition, the dentist’s letter proclaims extracurricular’s are in trouble without an override and how money is tight. Read on. There might be more trouble on the horizon.
Next up the Payson Roundup proclaims: “Banners Boost Spirits”. The article includes the picture below of some football player.
Seriously? I just shake my head and wonder. First and foremost, there is nothing wrong with promoting school spirit and using nice banners to help build spirit and belonging but somebody messed up. “…..the idea for the banners came from other high schools, such as Show Low, that have banners leading up to their school.” What? I was in Show Low last Friday officiating and I saw banners but I did not see a single banner with a gigantic photo of any athlete. I saw the Show Low High School banners and they appeared to be promoting Show Low High School Cougars.
“Spark the Future”. The only things I could find on sparking the future is a website to end homelessness for teenagers. http://spark-thefuture.com And in the state of Washington they have a whole program on “sparking the future” that is designed for students who are the first in their family to attend college. I’m uncertain what the PHS saying means.
If Payson High School wants to promote inclusion in the student body and a sense of belonging plus build an inclusive environment for learning, they would place banners promoting Payson High School and its programs.
A divide occurs as students become jealous, envious, and feel excluded because they are left out. It is a natural feeling and could have and should have been avoided. When a district is promoting a tax override because they do not have necessary funds to support extracurricular activities, but have the “teams” pay for glossy banners that can’t be cheap, then there is clearly a disconnect between the district and voters.
In referencing the alienated students, a high school student, Cody Rislund wrote a stirring letter to the editor. I don’t know Cody but he clearly is articulate and is passionate about the noninclusive banners. I did find a picture of him in the Payson Roundup and he appears to be quite active in school. So search the Roundup and read about his talents. http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2014/apr/15/footloose-trifecta-talent/
Cody nailed how other students may feel so just maybe school spirit has suffered due to a noninclusive attitude that has left other students and athletes on the sidelines.
Cody’s comments include: “First off, the town and school are passing this off as support for our school. The only thing this supports are the teams and a select few players at that. What happened to the other players on the team? Are they simply not a part of the success of these teams?” He is spot on.
He argues that a Longhorn should have been the focus of these expensive glossy banners and I concur. That would have gone a long way to build an inclusive, supportive, highly spirited campus.
This is Cody’s conclusion: “I don’t understand why the supporters didn’t just make a simple banner with our Longhorn on it. The football, volleyball and cheer teams aren’t the only things that make this school amazing. It takes every single member of every single team and every single club and every single organization to successfully call our school, Payson High School.” I could not agree more. That is an inclusive attitude.
What a brave young man to express his opinion. I sure hope he doesn’t get retribution because of his views. Thanks Cody, you have “sparked” my interest by standing up for what you believe.