It has always been in my nature to question authority, whoever it may be. Whether it’s my soccer coach, parents or teachers.
Even though an authority figure says something is right or wrong, it is our job as a society to question it and when we do, we can truly be educated.
I recently sat down with the Granite Bay High administration team to ask about their thoughts and perspectives on some of the memorable events that have gone on within the school – and that have upset some students.
As a stubborn high school student, I admit I see the world differently than a member of the administration might because we simply have different short-term goals.
Mine include being able to have fun and make the most of my high school career and their goal is to make sure every student is safe and feels included.
Many students, however, are upset about learning that the number of students in the Tribe would be limited.
“We had just come off a previous game and there were some problems,” assistant principal Brian McNulty said. “So we tried to address these problems – (and) one of them … was overcrowding down in the Tribe.”
I understand safety concerns. I have been in the midst of the Tribe in the most exciting moments of the game, and people jump around, yell and really just have a good time – which is what these games are all about.
Even though the administrative intention was not to decrease spirit, cutting back on Tribe numbers did exactly that. We had more than 800 Tribe members in the stands for the previous game, and the administrative edict to trim the numbers pretty much reduced the Tribe by half.
People regularly go to crowded sporting events and concerts that could result in someone getting hurt, but that shouldn’t be the main concern.
People go to support something they are passionate about, and there should not be unreasonable limitations on that.
Of course there are some student behaviors that our administration wants to avoid, but they can address those individually and not penalize the whole school.
Another concern is that during rivalry games (for example, when we played host to teams like Del Oro), students from the opposing school cannot visit the other side of the stadium to see friends from that school.
Administrators said they only block the other side when GBHS hosts a school like Del Oro because it could create conflict among students. However, for other games the gate is left open, allowing students to freely go from one side to another.
Students at GBHS have friends from different schools and they should be allowed to see them. Also, the percentage of fights that have happened at rivalry games is extremely low and rare because our student population is respectful.
Even though there could be some tension in the air at rivalry games, students are mature enough to handle the situation and just have fun.
Again, these constraints just aren’t like the real world is going to be, which is what high school is supposed to prepare us for right?
Let’s just say someone has an issue with a particular co-worker – their boss usually isn’t going to just separate them because it could cause a problem, they will be expected to work it out like mature adults.
The Rich Out (at the Del Oro game, many students dressed up as “rich kids,” much to the consternation of many adults on the GBHS campus) was quite a topic of conversation this school year because of perceptions of the event.
“It’s the suggestion that money has to do with our success is what we fight against 24/7,” principal Jennifer Leighton said.
Whenever I tell other people that I go to Granite Bay High, their reaction is always something like, “Oh, so you drive a Bentley, right?” which is so not the case. But it is their perception, and perceptions aren’t usually subject to change.
Students at other schools aren’t going to take a step back and say, “I never thought that maybe not everyone at GBHS is well off.”
There will always be some wealth and others who are not as fortunate – it’s life. We can try to educate people about others’ circumstances and it is very important to do so, but the reality is that people can think what they want.
Is it true that having more money can increase the performance of a team because it allows for better equipment and coaches? Maybe. But ultimately, it comes down to the talent of the athletes.
“Sure we live in an affluent community of Granite Bay, but not all our students are affluent,” assistant principal Jessup McGregor said. “And what does that mean to them when everyone else shows up with (dollar) bills or whatever and they don’t feel like they identify with that.”
Students need to be conscious of the circumstances and feelings of others, but that doesn’t mean we should shelter them from reality. And what about the students who do enjoy dressing like they are wealthy for a game?
It is all in good fun, a tradition that is not meant to harm anyone. It’s just an outfit, just clothing – not because students want to flaunt their wealth, but because they’re trying to promote the spirit of our school in a way where we all feel unified against our rival.
I have tremendous respect for the difficult job high school administrators must do, but high school is supposed to prepare us for real life, and we cannot do that with so many restrictions.
Students should be able to freely express themselves by wearing certain clothing for a theme or be allowed to be among their friends during a football game.
If we continue to shelter students unnecessarily, they will go into the real world with those same perceptions and will have a hard time adjusting.
Let’s not make the phrase “Granite Bay Bubble” more of a reality than it already is.