Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On Unity


            One principle that Park strives to promote in its community is individuality.  Students, as well as teachers, are encouraged to follow their own path through education.  For this reason we are heavily involved in choosing our own schedules, and largely responsible for all decisions made that involve us personally.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given in this regard, and I think that Park has helped me develop both my personality and work ethic.
            While I love being able to choose the English elective that best suits me, and the extracurricular activities that pique my interest, there are some downsides to this individualist culture.  This comes out most obviously socially.  I was fortunate enough to have a diverse group of friends throughout high school.  Between my classes and athletics, I had a sizeable pool of people whose company I enjoyed.  But these groups to which I belonged could be very exclusive.  My friends from math class were never seen at parties, and my friends from the basketball team couldn’t be found at poker night.
            The argument can certainly be made that highschoolers are inherently exclusive, and to some degree this is most definitely true.  However, I don’t think Park is doing much to combat this exclusivity.  Moreover, I think the Park culture actually fuels this phenomenon.  At Park, students are not encouraged to branch out; rather, they are encouraged to follow their passions.  Diversity is certainly preached, with many forums to discuss race, gender, and sexuality, but often those conversations themselves are populated by another exclusive group.  There is an apparent lack of unity amongst our students.
            As I wrote about earlier this year in the Postscript, there is an obvious divide amongst the Athletic and Art Departments.  For the most part, athletes don’t go to Goldsoundz and musicians don’t go to basketball games.  Exacerbating this divide, sometimes Goldsoundz and Friday night basketball games are scheduled simultaneously.
            In the end, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I’d like to see some kind of change in the culture at Park.  Kids will be kids—it’s not easy to interfere with the social tendencies of high school students.  Maybe the athletes will never go to Goldsoundz (even if there isn’t a basketball game happening at the same time).  Perhaps, the Friday Night Game crowd will always maintain it’s exclusive aura, no matter how many announcements and facebook events are made.  I can’t guarantee that any efforts to promote unity in the Park community will be successful, but it certainly cannot hurt to try.