Spirits are low among Starr’s Mill students

Senior year of high school: It is supposed to be a year for students to enjoy themselves and be able to have one last chance to create memories that will last a lifetime before having to grow up and go out into the real world.

A prime example of this would be the Spirit Week leading up to the homecoming football game. Sadly, members of the Starr’s Mill High School administration have taken the “spirit” out of Spirit Week.

Freshman and sophomore year, there used to be five days of dress-up and fun that ranged from twin day to toga day. But, starting my junior year, Spirit Week was suddenly shortened to three days. Now, dress-up days only range from Wednesday through Friday, severely limiting times for students to make memories and have some fun.

A simple question I have is why can McIntosh have five full days of dress-up while Starr’s Mill only can have three? Do McIntosh students act better than Starr’s Mill students? Are McIntosh students more conservative with dressing up than Starr’s Mill students?

Simply put, the answer is no. The problem with Spirit Week is that certain members of the administration at SMHS cannot handle any sort of dress-up or fun at all.

Case in point: on Sept. 16, we the senior class thought it would be fun to dress up as senior citizens to highlight that we are the new senior class. So, we all came into school with walkers, canes, and hair grayed with baby powder to show our school and class pride.

We were met with surprisingly harsh force from the administration. Students were given one-way tickets to in-school suspension and were threatened with the possibility of insubordination charges if anyone dared to dress up again for Tuesday.

What was so wrong with students shuffling around school and faking heart attacks during 10-minute break? The idea of an administration threatening a nearly 400-student class with insubordination is ludicrous, and it makes them look like they just make up rules as they go.

Tuesday brought its own complications. The senior class was supposed to tailgate in the back of the school before school started, eating Chick-fil-A and having a good time for “College Day,” but that was nixed when the administration threatened to cancel all of Spirit Week.

I would like someone to tell me how eating breakfast in the school parking lot disrupts the learning process of students, if it is supposed to happen before the 8:45 start time.

Spirit Week used to be a fun-filled event that created a sense of school and class camaraderie, but now it has turned into an ugly war between students trying to have a sense of spirit, and certain members of the administration trying to crush it.

There is a motto we go by at SMHS: “Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.” It is clear that the students know how to make the day great at Starr’s Mill. If only members of the administration could learn how to live by that motto as well.

Justin Doil
Class of 2014
Peachtree City, Ga.

ptc_mom_101
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Let's be like everyone else

OK, so SMHS wants to be like every one else. Good to know. Stop whining, find something worth writing in about and put that education we tax payers are paying for, to good use. I should stop paying those taxes now if this is what it is getting me!!
While you are spending your days whining about two days of missed spirit activites, there are more important things to battle. Focus on that, not on things you have no control over.
(and yes McIntosh is a much better school)

inquiringmind
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Caveat

For everyone else commenting, my intention is NOT to start a debate on whether or not we have a strong public school system.

inquiringmind
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Nicely written letter, Justin

Justin,
As a parent of a McIntosh grad ('02), I remember how frustrated my child was when things didn't appear fair to him. Heck, I remember how frustrated I was with my high school back in the '70s when I wrote a protest letter (questioning whether that was really meat in those school burgers) to the local paper...so I get it. I also commend you for the well-written letter. You were obviously trying to improve the situation the best way you knew how. Here are the problems as I see them:

1. Senior year is not supposed to be a year for students to just enjoy themselves. Hello...taxpayer here! Though my kid is no longer in the school system, I continue to pay for education. I'm happy to do this because I believe a strong public education system is vital to our nation. I will be happy to continue paying for this until I'm in the grave. But I'm NOT happy to pay for fluff, and that includes extended periods of frivolity at the expense of classroom time.

2. No one is stopping you from making memories and having fun. Sounds like the administration is giving you this opportunity. They're just not letting you blow off an entire week. Personally, I'd limit it to two days so you're better off with the current administration.

3. You and your buds came to school dressed up and pranking on September 16 even though you all knew there was no "spirit day" scheduled that day. I hate to break it to you, but that is absolutely insubordination. You were told "no spirit day for Monday". You decided to do it anyway. No wiggle room on that one. Once again, be grateful for your current administrators, because I would have canceled the Wednesday through Friday activities as punishment.

4. Life isn't "fair". I know you didn't use those words, but when you plaintively compare what McIntosh gets with what SMSH gets, and bemoan the difference, it really is whining about unfairness. I know that at your age, that's still common, but you need to get over it. Life will never be fair.

5. We all control whether we're feeling up or down. Don't blame any low spirits you have on school administration. You and your pals can be happy and upbeat if you want, or can mope around. It is completely your choice.

I don't want you to feel beat up, Justin. I admire that you decided to take a stand on something. Our nation is littered with so many apathetic people who just slog through life without caring...about anything. Next time, though, try to pick an issue that you can defend with something more substantial than angst.

....like whether or not that's real meat in the school burgers. ;-)

RKS
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Dress Up

I went to school in the Dark Ages and we loved Spirit Week. Thanks for writing the letter. I think your school admin must have had something bad happen at some point to be so picky about things. Maybe they will get it right next year.

rmoc
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school nazis ruin fun

When I was in school the last day of school we cleaned our lockers...throwing all the papers in the air and having a great time. The janitors were in for the fun...using rakes and shovels to dig up the mess. It was fun and one day a year..no more of that..

dwsscs
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Hang in there

I think it's great this person spoke out on the issue. The description of the administration is spot on, and parents are upset about this as well. It is hard to believe 2 extra spirit days would be disruptive to a school. Maybe the administration are not able to handle the extra diversion. Interesting considering surrounding schools are allowed to do it. They are ranked as high as Starrs Mill or higher, so something doesn't add up.

Husband and Fat...
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Ya'll changed my mind

Hand the keys to the kids and let them party.

All the nice boys and girls from fine families will behave appropriately and the teachers will thank you.

g8trgrl
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Starr's Mill School Spirit

Great letter Justin! People need to remember kids are only teenagers once & for a short while, they should be able to have a little "spirit" during homecoming week. I think the kids at SMHS feel they are getting the short end of the stick because the other schools in Fayette still have 5 days of homecoming celebrations. SMHS is the only high school in Fayette that has their dance right after the game on Friday night also. If all the schools in the county did the same thing the kids at SMHS would most likely be ok with it.

I think Justin's letter was nicely written. Kudos to you to write it!

SPQR
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Osgood Conklin

his spirit is with us.

1bighammer
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I commend you Justin

too many times people fail to speak up when they see something that just isn't right; That's why we are where we are now with this PC society and OBAMACARE looming just around the corner.

Its your right to speak up, write what you want and have an opinion. Of course now you see why so many people don't speak up, because these days you are berated,told to Shut up, accept it, that's just the way it is.

What if Black Americans had done that? There would have been no equal rights for them and they would still be treated as second class citizens. What if Women had sat silently and not had a women's Sufarage movement, they to would still be unable to vote.

Just because, "that's the way it is" now, doesn't mean its the way it has to be in the future. Yound Americans like yourself need to stand up for what YOU believe and and voice YOUR Opinion...

Don't let people like fathusband and MoeLarrryCurly discourage you.

Liferfrom65
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Husband and Father

I know Justin from Scouts and he is a great kid. Some people need to knock down others to feel better about themselves. Knowing that, I don't let their negativity bother me and neither should Justin. I recently stopped hanging out with a longtime friend when I got tired of hearing him put others down all the time.

Husband and Fat...
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He probably is

A great KID who wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper in order to gain sympathy so he and his pals can have more fun at school.

Education can be fun, but there must first be discipline. (Order). Pretty sure you don't let the kids dictate this.

He may have straight A's, be an eagle scout, youth church leader, accepted to Harvard on scholarship and sings for the Atlanta Boys Choir. Most other kids aren't as great and are looking for a distraction to goof off.

I'm sure once administration has things in order, kids are passing all these required tests, they will lighten up.

We don't need another lawsuit because some silly teen did something stupid and gets embarrassed now do we?

See you in the office Friday. Don't forget its Hawaiian shirt dress up day. lol

Husband and Fat...
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Tell me tiny tack hammer

What was the purpose of the letter other than complain?

School days have been cut due to budgets, but teachers are expected to cover more.

Eating breakfast in the parking lot means the custodians have to clean up after them and over a larger area than a cafeteria.

Have you heard the way some of these students talk to teachers?

If the kid likes to dress up like a senior, perhaps he can do this on a Saturday and visit the retirement community. I'm sure they would think its funny.

Where in the letter are any solutions?

Where in the letter did Mr. Spirit say that he made an appointment with the principal to discuss "lightening up" on the seniors and provide some valid points or alternatives. Isn't this a job for student council? (In my day, lol)

We expect our principals to protect the students and provide a place to be educated. Faking heart attacks and falling down, kids dressing a little inappropriately and being gawked at all day really doesn't go with education. Of course having fun should be part of learning, but a whole week of dress up and games is a little much.

Then of course there is the pending lawsuit over a silly photo that is still pending and which we the taxpayers may end up paying.

If you want fun and games all the time, there are great schools for this. Check out: http://www.ringling.com/ContentPage.aspx?id=45924&section=45688

1bighammer
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Hey Fat Husband...What is the purpose of your replies other
Husband and Father of 2 wrote:

What was the purpose of the letter other than complain?

School days have been cut due to budgets, but teachers are expected to cover more.

Eating breakfast in the parking lot means the custodians have to clean up after them and over a larger area than a cafeteria.

Have you heard the way some of these students talk to teachers?

If the kid likes to dress up like a senior, perhaps he can do this on a Saturday and visit the retirement community. I'm sure they would think its funny.

Where in the letter are any solutions?

Where in the letter did Mr. Spirit say that he made an appointment with the principal to discuss "lightening up" on the seniors and provide some valid points or alternatives. Isn't this a job for student council? (In my day, lol)

We expect our principals to protect the students and provide a place to be educated. Faking heart attacks and falling down, kids dressing a little inappropriately and being gawked at all day really doesn't go with education. Of course having fun should be part of learning, but a whole week of dress up and games is a little much.

Then of course there is the pending lawsuit over a silly photo that is still pending and which we the taxpayers may end up paying.

If you want fun and games all the time, there are great schools for this. Check out: http://www.ringling.com/ContentPage.aspx?id=45924&section=45688

than to tell a seemingly bright and articulate student(which we don't hear much from)to shut up and deal with it. Maybe you could have offered your "solutions" before ripping him a new one! Nah,that would have actually required that you treat a "young adult" with something other than disdain...are you a PTC cop or something?

What is the big deal with allowing these students 1 morning breakfast and a few days to show school spirit? Have you seen what some of these HOOCHIE grils wear to school everyday...that's more distracting to the education process than some silly costumes.

Husband and Fat...
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Purpose

All for making school fun. One week of dressup is a little much, doncha think?

Perhaps a cleanup brigade after eating in the parking lot could change their mind.

Yes, I see how some of the girls dress, and togas for teens doesn't sit well with me at school.(Call me old fashioned) One/Two days for dress up, fine.

The kids about to go out into the real world, whether it be college or the work force. If they want to be treated like adults, they have to act a little more mature.

Kudos to the "kid" who wrote the letter. (Mind I said kid). If people think it took a lot of guts to write about it, so be it. A young adult would have presented the problem and solutions. Not just whined about not having fun.

Perhaps the English teacher can use this letter as an example to write a better letter. Oh better not, the school might be presented with a lawsuit.

The Wedge
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Ha ha Husband and Father
Husband and Father of 2 wrote:

Where in the letter did Mr. Spirit say that he made an appointment with the principal to discuss "lightening up" on the seniors and provide some valid points or alternatives. Isn't this a job for student council? (In my day, lol)

I have to laugh when I saw this. I (and other parents) have gone down this road with the principal and I can easily conclude that the administration does not care one bit about listening to any other person's points or opinions. The leader will do whatever she wills and that's all there is to it.

Husband and Fat...
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The leader

Having no idea regarding your personal situation nor the changes you wished them to consider, being a principal is not an easy job. They are the leaders of the school who report to the superintendent, who reports to our school board.

In todays education world there is just too much paperwork and not enough boots on the ground teaching. Teachers have larger classes and more paperwork than when you and I were students.

I have not yet met SMHS staff other than exchanging pleasantries at sporting events.

Their first job is to educate our students. Gaining respect and being hard nosed at the beginning of the year sets the tone for the loosening of the tie as the year goes on and goals are being met. Too often our leaders try to be friends with the students too soon and this lackadaisical style has ended up costing good educators their jobs when students don't recognize who's the boss. (Remember "Stand and Deliver")

Pretty sure this person has learned that they are responsible to educate an entire student body and has learned they can never placate everyone.

If your issue is/was important, then scheduling a meeting with the principal and supt would be the next logical step. If that doesn't work to satisfaction, I am sure one of the school board members could assist.

Good luck.

Spyglass
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I agree, this kid doesn't deserve all this bluster

Below....

That said McIntosh rules! :)

WLVROCKS
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BOO-HOO

When I went to high school, we concentrated upon learning, SAT scores, getting into our college of choice and ultimately, a productive future. The only "spirit" event (other than Homecoming and a Prom) was the senior picnic. No one felt they were being cheated . Get over it and worry more about your freshman year in college.

Husband and Fat...
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Can anyone say

Whiny little brat.

Man up Justin.

Your senior year can still be fun if you can find something to do besides whine like a child.

PTC Observer
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Class of 2014 SMH

Cranky public administrators will make your life miserable for the rest of your life, get use to it, it's the real world. Being politically correct will follow you all the days of your lives, it's the real world. Not being able to express what you really feel because it might offend someone, someplace at sometime in the future, is the real world. Having government control your children in government schools to instill "social" skills, is the real world.

Welcome......to the real world and thank you for speaking out on it. Perhaps, just perhaps someone will see what we have created to suppress the human spirit through government conformity. For God's sake, let's not offend anyone! Oops did I say God?

k0bra
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every year its something

every year its something else. i remember when MHS used to have senior prank day at the kedron docks and that got 86'd pretty quick after like- two whole people complained that the water balloons had ruined their cars. Teachers here need to chill out and spirit week should be embraced every year. its just the way it should be.

Josh Bloom
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Hiding behind a keyboard

Justin,
Disregard Moelarrycurly. Anyone that can't put their real name and simply hides behind a keyboard has zero validity in my book. You wrote a great letter and I commend you for exercising your first ammendment right...and you do it with your name behind it. Good for you!

NUK_1
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Josh: Maybe reconsider

People have lost their jobs for posting here(even so-called anonymously), and others might not wish to have the same fate happen to them.

It sounds like you're more interested in the messenger than the message itself. I don't understand that at all. That's not a real sharp way of thinking, IMO.

By the way, I happen to agree with you about the SMHS student's letter, but it had nothing to do with him using his real name.....it was the points he made that I can understand and not necessarily agree with or not, but how he presented them. I guess if he was "anonymous" it would be useless to you despite the fact that The Citizen has published letters to the Editor anonymously plenty of times.

moelarrycurly
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Why Josh

Why so grumpy? Daddy duty going well? Miss you on here.

Zero validity in your book? What book IS that, Josh? I am just crushed. I thought we were buds, Josh.

You a tad sleep deprived, as where is it mentioned anywhere that spirit man has no right to write what he wants or put his name on it? Did you say that? Surely you josh.

Josh Bloom
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Sleep deprived yes, but not

Sleep deprived yes, but not grumpy. I think Justin did a great job expressing his opinion via a letter to the editor. Very few young people take advantage of such a platform. Then you come along and give him grief. Yes, your right, but awfully weak without sighning your name. Pet peeve of mine on here, the few of you not standing behind your opinions without the power or credibility of your name.

Husband and Fat...
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Mr. Bloom

So it may have been more appropriate to praise the lad for writing the letter, then chastising him to pick a more appropriate battle, lol.

But I guess, my opinion doesn't count.

Now don't fly while sleep deprived. You know the rules.

Josh Bloom
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At least the young man picked

At least the young man picked a battle and posted his thoughts in a well formulated thought process. Give him credit for that. Wether or not you think it is a worthy issue or not is up for debate. I would tend to think that if this young man wrote a letter to the editor expressing his ire at Stars Mills administration, then it is a worthy issue for himself. Who am I to criticize. Again, kudos to you Justin.

Side note, I sure would like to meet Husband and Moelarrycurly, although I think I may have met them without knowing it.

Husband and Fat...
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So Josh,

Lets put aside the debate on the kid wanting to have more fun at school and your playing the fence non-opinion.

Don't you think a letter to the school board or perhaps he gather a few of his buddy's to stand before the school board at a meeting would have been the correct venue?

I'm not dissing the kid. Glad he expresses his ire. Maybe if he reads the responses he could learn to think things thru and express himself to the right audience. (School Board)

This happens to the best of us when emotions come into play. (Remember the dumpster issue earlier this year). Emotions almost always destroy an argument.

Read Rudyard Kiplings Poem "If". Its apropos to many situations. Share it with your son when he is old enough to understand.

moelarrycurly
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Faking a heart attack?

Senior year is supposed to be fun?

In September?

Dress up days?

Tailgating in the parking lot before school?

College Day?

Before you go out into the real world?

Ugly war?

Severely limiting times for students to make memories and have fun?

Administration just makes up rules as they go?

Tears of sympathy and sadness for you are rolling down cheeks all over Georgia right now.

Stores are having shortages of tissues everywhere.

Guess what, J.D.? You got those administrators hanging by a rope, now.

Now that they know the rules of your game, surely surely they will shape up and meet your expectations.

Yep, I think you've created some great memories for yourself, right thru May of 2014.

Enjoy every moment, spirit man.

k0bra
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LOL if it were the

LOL if it were the administrators at McIntosh you'd be immediately threatened by not walking if you wrote this article. party on

Davids mom
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Come on parents

The school needs help with supervision of these activities! Volunteer to help the staff during this week! The student wrote a terrific letter expressing his point of view. (His point of view based on his experience of watching student activities during his high school years.). We are all aware of the economic situation and our schools throughout our country have felt the cuts. I hope the administration reaches out to retirees so that the kids can have their fun! (The kids do need supervision during 'special events'.)

Husband and Fat...
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Keeping up with the Jones

Got to keep up with the Jones' at MHS

If McIntosh has it, we want it too.

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