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Opinions

A Matter of All Opinions

Recently, staff members have been going on a crusade of changes, proposing a new hybrid-block schedule, designing a new Warrior logo, modifying assemblies, and getting rid of accelerated classes. These changes signal a shift from old to new, but we have to keep in mind that new does not necessarily mean better.

Change purely for the sake of change is no progress at all. Without a necessary reason to move, we’re simply burning fuel driving in circles.

It’s also true that change may be for the better. For example, there are good reasons for changing the logo font and Warrior image. This includes having a font that is solely ours, and having consistent depictions of the Warrior across
the school. But we have to ask ourselves, is it worth the cost?

The editorial board loves the Warrior. In a time where mascots associated with Native Americans are being cut left and right, we are extremely grateful that we still have the Warrior to represent us. But by calling attention to this logo, we run the risk of attracting outrage and cries for change. We risk losing the pride and joy of the school by inflaming a debate riddled by indignation for old crimes.

Are the changes worth the risk of losing it forever? Couldn’t we have just have done a better job of distributing access to the old mascot imagery and font so that there could be more consistency? By creating a new logo, aren’t we increasing the inconsistency with the images that already exist throughout the Maine West campus?

Teachers and administrators, we don’t want you to not change anything. What we’re asking for is much simpler.

Include more students in the conversation and decision-making.

For any real, significant change, there needs to be an informed conversation. However, this can’t be a conversation that happens behind closed doors. It needs be a conversation that is open to students, to parents, and to staff — a full discussion exploring the benefits and drawbacks of new plans.

For many students, Maine West works great the way it is. When changes are clearly good, though, when it clearly improves our school, we have happily embraced them. We’ve gushed over the new water fountains and bathrooms, and we love going to the Pop Shop. When we needed to get rid of the chop to save the Warrior, we followed suit.

We need to ask ourselves, though: are staff members sometimes just looking for things to change, or are students actually clamoring for change that staff members could help facilitate?

Students are the ones who must live with any new changes. And since most of us have family members who have attended or will attend Maine West, we are representatives of a larger Maine West community than just ourselves.

So, listen to our doubts and concerns, and show us that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Or, alternatively, listen
to our doubts and concerns and realize that we might be right, too. It’s not okay just to dismiss student concerns
because we are students. Explain to us the widespread weaknesses and shortcomings of the old schedule and why a hybrid schedule is the best solution, for example, and give us more than just an opaque survey to gauge our opinions. Really respond to us by formulating specific solutions to potential problems that we bring up. In more cases, be willing to collaborate with us so that we can create a plan that’s superior to the current situation. If there are multiple options, there should be more polling or more large student panels held to gather the opinions of the students before going through with the decision, or at the very least, provide clearer explanations for the process the staff went through to make a new logo or launch a new initiative.

Of course, students cannot just complain either. It also falls upon us to offer solutions to problems and voice
complaints to people in control. That being said, students can’t do this if they don’t have the opportunity.

We acknowledge that we are students, and that we don’t have nearly as much power as the professional staff. We understand that there is sometimes a temptation to glance over the students’ thoughts and voices and just do
“what’s best for them.” But ultimately, school is about the students. A school that does not connect with students cannot flourish.

Talk to us, but let us talk as well. Keep in touch with us, and keep us updated as the situation changes. Not just the leadership groups but also regular students in the hallway. Allow other groups to be able to regularly speak with the teachers, principal and other administration about issues.

Let’s make changes this school needs.

Let’s do it together.

a-matter-of-all-opinions

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Westerner: The Maine West student voice for more than 50 years