Courtesy of Sloane Williams
The foremost reason students come to school is, of course, to receive an education. And although this should always be a student’s first priority, the social life and community a school can build are also very important and necessary. As the year slowly comes to an end, students may be left wondering if they made the best out of their year or even if they were given the chance to make this year fun.
Some would say the graduating seniors this year may have had the worst luck. Their only “real” high school years were their freshman year and a little over half of their sophomore year. Seniors, like Jayline George, realized pretty quickly that they should get involved in school before it was too late.
“I haven’t been that involved, just because like my freshman year was mainly hospitalized, and sophomore year COVID happened and I did online my junior year. But I will say that I wasn’t a very spirited person. But being around everybody in high school and seeing how involved they were, I kind of wanted something like that. So I would start to go to Friday Night Lights and everything. And I became more involved in school activities,” George said.
It is known that COVID stripped away most of the activities schools were able to have. Due to the restrictions that came along with social distancing, it was practically impossible for schools to host activities such as pep rallies and dances. Senior, Yoshwa Kyei, believes that this may have set back student life at Lake Ridge.
“I would definitely say student life probably declined. I do remember freshman year and maybe sophomore year it was just more lively at Lake Ridge. I just feel like overall the student body had more fun, whereas junior year was the COVID year and then senior year everybody was still struggling to stay focused trying to stay motivated. So you really don’t have time to celebrate, or we aren’t motivated enough to have more fun or to have more spirit,” said Kyei.
A perspective that is typically ignored is the one of students who participate in pep rallies whether it’s by being on the cheer team or the band. Seeing students look bored during their performances could have an effect on them depending on their personality. Sophomore and Varsity drill team member, Kyra Bryant, realizes that COVID did in fact affect students’ spirit, so their monotonous attitudes don’t really influence her performance.
“The last time we had a pep rally was a very long time from this year. The only people who really get into them are in the senior section. Freshmen and sophomores don’t get into it, and they’re pretty boring. It doesn’t really make me that mad that they’re not participating. I wish they would have more fun, but I still get it. People just need to get used to pep rallies again,” said Bryant.
Although COVID did have an impact on student life, the actual students who are at a school at impact the student culture even more. Kyei believes that the students who attended Lake Ridge during her underclassmen years were more energetic, compared to the students who attend now.
“I think the student body was definitely more elite. My freshman and sophomore years were when the football team was actually good, so there was a lot more pomp and circumstance around them. I also remember I was in more extracurricular activities, those definitely make school more fun,” said Kyei.
Even with all these factors in play, some students still believe that in comparison to other schools around, Lake Ridge’s student culture is inferior. This includes Bryant, who believes that the student life here is lacking.
“I definitely do think there’s more we can do. We do a lot during the first semester, but once we hit the second semester they don’t advertise things as much. I feel like they didn’t do much for Senior Week. Homecoming week was a horrible theme in my opinion, and it wasn’t that correlated to the dress-up days. I think we should really do Hog week. At other schools, they’re, like, doing things to raise money for charity. I don’t know if people would actually do it, but if we advertise it enough you never know,” stated Bryant.
George agrees with Bryant’s stance and wishes there were more activities to attend during the second semester.
“I definitely think they can have more, like outdoor movie nights or something like drive-in movies like they have the first semester or just like random tailgates even if we don’t have games. But we used to have something similar to the powder puff we’re having right now for the volleyball team and it seemed like something people really enjoyed. So they can like bring those back as well,” said George.
Senior, Wymeko Williams, believes that Lake Ridge does do a great job of making school fun, but also agrees that there could be some improvements.
“I hope that the students continue to support the sports teams and organizations at their games and performances. It makes the environment seem exciting. I think the student council has done a pretty good job in creating fun activities for the students, but I know there have been complaints about the student body, specifically the senior class, not attending meetings to give their input, so I think that could be better next year. I also wish that the student council could create more activities for students to come together and interact more often. Pep rallies are fun, but after football season, there’s not really anything that brings the school together near the end of the year, so I wish the council or administration would create something fun for the second semester. Lastly, I wish the administration would allow students to go on more field trips, especially as seniors,” said Williams.
Although the actions of the student council and administration can help make student life more lively, it’s important to note there’s only so much they can do. If students aren’t showing up to the events planned, then they won’t ever have fun. Kyei believes that it’s the students’ responsibility to ensure they’re enjoying their time in high school.
“If we want to have fun as a student body, I am saying we need to put the responsibility on ourselves to make it more fun. We need to be more encouraging to each other and motivate each other. We need to have a collaborative community. Because if you’re just turning to the school for fun and then shutting it down because you think it’s lame, then what’s the point? The school can’t do anything for you at that point” said Kyei.
In the end, ideas to improve student life at Lake Ridge will vary from student to student. Hopefully, as COVID has a lesser impact on the school, student life can return to its once lively state.