Negative Competition Segregates Class Levels

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Seniority, what used to be a respect and awe inspired fear of upperclassmen, is now a disdainful competition. While school spirit is intended to bring the student body together, unnecessary class competition is destroying the unity of Marshfield High School.

In rebellion against the social normalities of seniority, grade levels have segregated. Each grade has developed a competitive bond within itself, and while the school encourages class bonding, the competition has gone too far. Discussions such as which class is the best and who has the most school spirit have changed from simple jokes to disrespect toward the school, while reverence toward seniority has become nonexistent.

Years ago, seniors displayed their superiority by freshman initiation. After several drastic hazing occurrences, this traditional harassment of underclassmen has diminished. Levels of hazing had escalated to the point where underclassmen felt afraid and bullied at school. Because this is not the intent of initiation, all hazing is no longer permitted in any form. As a result, juniors and seniors are forced to retreat into a more reserved social role. This lack of power has emboldened underclassmen to question the authority that comes with age. While hazing is not appropriate, upperclassmen should be able to establish their seniority in other ways.

At recent school athletic events, the student section appears to be energetic and positive. What common observers cannot see, however, is the tension among the students. Underclassmen are upset because they were kicked out of the front row. Certain people purposely start cheers that are derogatory and sometimes contradicting to what the rest of the student section is cheering. Many seniors are being criticized about how loud they cheer, how many events they attend or how talented they are. An individual’s school spirit is not and should never be dependent upon those things; spirit should be shown by attitude and commitment. It almost seems as if the ones denouncing these individuals actually have the least amount of spirit as they are the ones who are disrespecting the school. If the purpose of a student section is to show the competing team they are supported by the student body, then why aren’t the students within the section showing their support?

There are two parts to school spirit:
leadership and support. Marshfield is not lacking at all regarding student leaders so there is another aspect to the issue. In order for there to be a leader, there have to be supporters. In a high school situation, this means the seniors lead and the underclassmen follow. This is not because seniors are louder or more important. Seniors lead because they have experience, maturity and one last chance to enjoy high school.

Because this particular senior class is small, there is a large amount of leadership and enthusiasm but not a lot of volume. Underclassman have noticed this weakness and are seizing the opportunity to overpower the senior class. Multiple controversies are offsetting the social balance between classes and are beginning to impact the senior class. The issue is not a matter of who is sitting in the front row at athletic events. It does not matter which class is the largest or who cheers the loudest. After four years of hard work, senior year should be an honor. Underclassmen need to step back and remember the true purpose for school spirit; to bring the school together. Despite whether they agree with the ideas of seniority or have any respect for their classmates at all, the pure spirit of Marshfield is at stake.

“Pirate Pride” requires the positive support of every student and cannot be attained unless the student body makes a conscious decision to respect each other. While it is exciting that school spirit is growing, the student body must make an effort to keep the competition friendly, respect the social traditions of Marshfield and to remember that seniority is an honor, not a dictatorship.