Canceling Winterfest Rally excludes winter athletes and stellar students

For many years, Bear Creek’s Student Government class has orchestrated five rallies each school year: Homecoming, Winterfest, International, Prom and Goodbye.  However, at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, admin decided to remove the Winterfest Rally.

One of the main arguments behind removing Winterfest was that it lacked inclusivity for the student body.  Unlike Homecoming and Prom courts, students on Winterfest court were nominated by teachers, so it was comprised of academically strong students.  However, admin argued that highlighting only 12 students for their academic achievement is exclusive.

For some students, this event was the only chance to get any type of spotlight on a court.  Without Winterfest, the school is left with Homecoming and Prom courts — the two that only highlight popular students.  Of course, those events will never be tampered with because they bring in larger amounts of revenue.  A rally can only be so inclusive; not everyone can participate in the games or be on court.  However, it’s the limited number of spaces on court that incentivizes students to work hard and be positive influences in their classrooms.  Winterfest court is also a chance for teachers to nominate who they believe deserves a spotlight rather than having students nominate whichever name pops up the most on social media or around school.

Far from being exclusive, the Winterfest Rally was known for its class dances in which each class had the chance to show off their dance moves and school spirit.  Going to Winterfest dance practices was a fun and simple way to break barriers, especially for underclassmen, and to meet new people.  With each practice, a sense of camaraderie and spirit grew between participants.

The rally was also the only time athletes participating in winter sports — basketball, soccer, and wrestling — were recognized.  How fair is it to exclude these athletes from recognition?

 To claim that the Winterfest Rally is not inclusive enough is simply not true.

To replace Winterfest, the school plans to  create an Academic Awareness Month.  Students who show improvement or have high honors will receive some type of award, whether it be a certificate or party involving food.  Sound familiar?  Unless admin is hiding an elaborate plan on how to make this specific month impactful to students, it sounds like a repeat of the Renaissance Awards or The BRUIN Way Honors.  While it is important to recognize students for their academic improvements, there should be an opportunity for the academically stellar students to be recognized with the same pomp and circumstance as they do popular students nominated for court.  This argument is not to highlight a hierarchy of smart students, but rather to create a possible incentive for students to reach higher in their academic achievements.

It’s okay to have a moment to recognize the student body for its academic achievements like the Renaissance Awards.  But when there’s a good portion of the recipients not showing up to the award ceremony because they don’t view it as important; when there’s a stack of certificates being sent to classes after the ceremony so students receive their awards; when there are additional prizes that students can win by showing up to the ceremony as incentive for them to go — there must be something that can be improved.  Creating an Academic Awareness Month is like repeating history — the lesson is not learned.