Photo illustration by Lilly Bucher
Parkway’s mission is to ensure that all students are capable, curious and confident learners who understand and respond to the challenges of the ever-changing world. This year, an important aspect was added to the mission: caring. Are we living up to the amendment of “caring”? What is being done differently to reflect this new perception?
According to Superintendent Keith Marty, Parkway added caring to the mission statement as a result of feedback given by over 2500 students, staff and parents. One of the strongest messages received from this feedback was how the community wanted to focus more efforts on caring in schools, and the realization that being caring was just as important as being academically successful.
With over 50 clubs and sports offered at school, everyone has a chance to be involved in the community in organized settings; opportunities abound to break down barriers and get to know one another. For example, Best Buddies works to include students with disabilities in activities with their peers, from the pumpkin patch to Prom. Furthermore, with events like Pay-it-Forward week promoting the message “Be kind. Pass it on,” students are being emerged in lessons on how to be kind, show how they are caring, and encourage other students to do the same.
However, a crucial aspect that our West High community is missing out on is being caring outside of organized school functions. Gossip, cliques, rumors—the issues at hand are not new. With social media’s bombarding presence, gossip is hard to ignore. Although schools cannot control a student’s actions and what they choose to say, they do have an effect on what they learn. Schools can teach its students about character and caring with the hope that this knowledge will stick with the students beyond the classroom.
There are numerous ways that students can get involved with trying to promote caring. For example, the Social Justice League meets every other Tuesday to improve our school. Getting involved with groups like this, even if you are busy, is not hard as they only meet a few times a month. From freshman to seniors, they have organized projects like “Seeing Through a Different Lense Day,” in which students paid a dollar to wear sunglasses, and they are working with a Syrian refugee clothing drive.
It’s up to the students to get the school back on the caring track.