A Seniors Perspective on School Changes

Elizabeth Hennessey

In recent years the high school has been adopting policies and changing the school environment up to do what they believe is best for the school. Some of these changes have included a drug testing policy, a new bell schedule, assigned parking, removing benches,  changing the student section for basketball games, and even not allowing students to eat lunch on the benches.

Regardless of how minute these changes might seem, to me, a senior, these policies and changes are completely changing the culture of our school and everything high school was. When I entered high school four years ago, there were benches in the south commons, pep assemblies, and a block schedule. Now, the policies are not recognizable. Shawnee Heights has always meant tradition to me and that tradition is changing.

I must make it apparent that I am not against every policy and change administration has made. Some of the changes have been beneficial to our school. For instances, the class of 2017 was the first class to have iPads all four years. This technological addition to our education immensely helped at first. However, similarly to several seniors in Ms. Coulter’s freshman composition class, I agree that we should exchange iPads for MacBooks because just as the times are changing so should our technology.

With every change comes a shift in the attitude of the students in the high school. As a senior, I have watched this school completely change. I am not the one to say if these changes were necessary or beneficial but what I have noticed and personally feel is that the changes made, have created an environment where the students feel like we are always up against administration.

As a senior, I’ve seen things come full circle. Freshman year, the class of 2015 was the embodiment of school spirit. The senior benches were always completely decked out until their removal. Once the benches were removed it felt like a bit of tradition was also stripped from our school. The class of 2018 is trying to reclaim some of these stolen traditions by decorating where formerly the senior bench use to reside.

Several of the changes I have reference will mean almost nothing to underclassman but looking to a more recent change it’s clear that every class and every teacher has strong feelings on the bell schedule change.

Shawnee Heights is so unrecognizable to me. I’m a strong advocate for changing things for the better, but are these changes really helping our school? Every class after mine will never get to experience the thrill of having rivalries with nearby schools. The district’s decision to leave the Centennial League is a devastating end to a tradition that Shawnee Heights has been a part of all but four years since it’s opening in 1962.

There is no way to stop progression. In fact, Shawnee Heights should continue to be progressive with its changes; however, I would urge the district to consider what traditions they are leaving their students with.

Change can be good, but so can tradition.