In the Long Run: Athletes are important faces of the school

My whole life, I’ve heard about the high school social hierarchy and how athletes are undoubtedly on top. This idea is emphasized (over emphasized, if you ask me) in movies, TV shows and books, but it’s made its presence here at SHS seemingly now more than ever.

This is, in large part, due to the fact that iPass has changed. There are now athletic iPass classes, and I’ve heard backlash from students about how it shows special treatment towards athletes. I’m here to say that this is simply not the case.

The point in changing how iPass works was to, one, make it more productive (because let’s be honest, nobody read anything during silent sustained reading, except their text messages), and two, to help push the culture shift that’s happening at SHS.

If you’d like to learn more about this culture shift then there is an entire centerfold story about it. The cover picture is related to it and all of that jazz, but to boil it down for you, the administration wants students to succeed and to succeed together. That is extremely boiled, but for the sake of this column that’s what we’re rolling with.

Anyways, the way the new iPass system will help push this culture shift is by replacing the reading time with a time where the underclassmen can learn what to expect in high school, the upperclassmen can learn how to prepare for after high school and everyone can learn a little something about character development and leadership.

According to my iPass teacher, Chelsea Hoffman, the curriculum for athletic and regular iPass classes are similar, but the athletic iPasses will focus more on SHS’s core values, integrity, service, perseverance, social conscience, sense of community and responsibility for growth and how to apply those to both our lives and our sports.

This, to me, makes perfect sense and doesn’t seem like “special treatment” at all. After all, if the administration’s goal is to build a better culture throughout the school, it is important to make sure your sports teams are in check too. Scratch that, it is VITAL to make sure sports teams are in check.

Principal Brian Knight made an outstanding point in an interview with another Journal staff member when he said, “Most people in this community never step foot in the building. What they know of us is what they see when they drive by Banta or what they see at events.”

With this being said, what are the most attended events? I’ll give you a hint. It’s sporting events.

Not only do people flock in from the Southport community to home sporting events, but SHS athletes are on the road a lot too, representing SHS to other communities. We’re put on a stage for the whole state to see on almost a daily basis. Some athletes understand the power they wield when it comes to creating a positive image for your school. Others don’t, so it is important that these values are being pushed upon them.

Plus, in the athletic iPass classes, we’re discussing how we can apply all of these values to our sports teams. If just a small percentage of student athletes buy in and actually carry the lessons over to their teams, they can set precedents for younger members. Then they can set precedents for future generations of Cards, in the long run, (pun intended), they will be building a better culture within SHS athletics.

It’s this importance to build student athletes with good character that people confuse with “special treatment.”

If you still think this is a bunch of bologna and athletes are just living it up in iPass while everyone else has to watch boring videos, then you might be overlooking a couple of things.

One is that it’s only junior and senior athletes who are put into these athletic iPass classes. Upperclassmen, who are the natural leaders of the school.

Another is that it’s not just athletes who are separated during iPass. There are iPass classes for things like student council and theater too.

So, whether you like it or not, athletes are a face of the school, perhaps the most important and telling face. If you see an athlete succeeding, don’t assume it’s because of special treatment, because I can guarantee that there is more to the story than what meets your judgmental eye.