For various reasons, some students are simply not well connected to the school they attend. They lack a sense of pride in their school and are less likely to support the rest of the student body at functions, whether those functions are athletic or not.
Don Harman, principal at Wawasee High School, has invited approximately 20 parents from all three of the communities in the school district — Milford, North Webster and Syracuse — to attend a brainstorming session at 6 p.m. Thursday at the high school.
At the session, administrators will listen as parents of WHS students give ideas on how to get students more involved in the school.
“The goal is to get feedback from parents and to get more ideas on how to get kids more involved in the school,” Harman said, “and to support their fellow students.”
Though the timing of the meeting would indicate it is a direct response to the suicides and attempted suicides at WHS, it is not, but Harman noted, “I do think it goes hand in hand with that.” And it was presented by Harman to the school board Feb. 12 as part of a list of things being done in response to two student suicides this school year.
Harman recalled he and other administrators had met as far back as possibly before Thanksgiving to discuss ways to get students more involved and not just in sports but also band, academic events and more. “We talked about ways to get students to take more ownership in the school,” he added.
School spirit or pride seem to be lacking, though it is difficult to define “school spirit.” Instead, it appears to be more of an issue of some students not taking ownership of the school, he commented. “A school is a community and we want kids to be connected to the school,” Harman said.
Living as a teen now is much different than it was 10 or more years ago. “Kids today have more options than they used to have,” Harman noted, citing social media sites, digital technology and more. “Some of them also have more obligations and have to work to help support their family. Some are even living on their own.”
Before the technology explosion and the advent of the Internet, going to a basketball game, for example “was the thing to do because there wasn’t really anything else,” he said. And, he added, closing school for a pep session was more common but is much more difficult now due to the curriculum requirements and testing.
Thursday’s session is a starting point and, depending on the response, could possibly be opened up to the community later.