WTF: Where’s the Food?

Kayla Lorimer, Special Contributor

Robert Williams Service once wrote that “a promise made is a debt unpaid.” This is common sense: one should be true to their word and follow through with commitments. Being a flake or breaking a promise is a surefire way to disappoint others, lose friends, and even lose a job.

Well, the sophomore and junior Teal Twix classes have a debt unpaid and are feeling the disappointment. Last April, the underclassmen advisory classes all participated in the annual advisory competition, the reward being Chick-fil-A for the entire winning classes. The competition included a medley of scooter boarding, bouncing across the gym on a ball, and a heavy dose of embarrassment. For a lot of us, any public event even if it’s just “fun and games” can be deeply humiliating. When Mr. Coon, Mrs. Robison, and Mr. Cervantes asked us to participate, most of us didn’t want to. Pictures were taken for the yearbook, ensuring a permanent record of the awkwardness in the minds of peers. Despite the laughter around us and the social awkwardness of rolling around on carts and inflatable spheres, we fought until we won, not because we relished the competition but because we were in it for the glorious chicken prize.

Since the games happened at the end of a busy school year, we understood not getting our reward in May. We figured we’d get it at the start of the next year. But now it’s eight months later and the students of these Twix classes have still not received our reward for winning. At the beginning of the year we reminded our advisers. Each of them tried to talk to the administration about what had happened and all were told we would get our prize, but alas, it hasn’t happened. As students, we’ve asked counselors, the administration, and even the student advisory committee, but none of our pleas worked. All we got back was lip service: “Oh, it will happen,” and then nothing.
So as a last attempt, our advisory classes are going on strike.

To show how upset we are, the students of Coon’s, Robison’s, and Faller’s classes are going to stop participating in advisory activities. If we are going to be pushed aside and treated as unimportant, then we will treat the activities as unimportant. “I didn’t think it’s right for us to participate in an activity supervised and organized by people who still have not fulfilled their promises,” one sophomore in these advisories said. “We should not have to work hard for people that do not appear to be putting in the same amount of work back for us.” We all pretty much agree that we will not go back to coloring turkeys or making dance videos until we get what we are owed. “We worked hard to win the competition because they told us we would get Chick-fil-A,” a junior Twix told me. “We didn’t, so why should we keep working hard?”

Take the door decorating contest: the winning advisory is promised a prize, but how can they deliver on that prize when we have not been given what we are owed?  Instead of a festive-themed door decoration, we have put up a banner inquiring where our chicken is. It is not coming down until we get it. In all fairness, we have been told by Ms. Zulauf that we will finally receive our prize on December 12, but we have been told that we will get it many times before. Our trust is broken, and the banner stays up until we see the follow through on their promise. We feel deceived and won’t stop fighting until the moment this wrong has been rectified. “I love the school and the people,” another sophomore told me. “I even like advisory, but I have a hard time trusting [the people in charge] if they haven’t followed through for so long.”
And that’s the bigger issue, really. This is about more than just chicken: it’s about the trust we students can have in the adults that run our building. How can we trust our school to follow through with other important issues like anti-bullying initiatives, mental health support, and defending the rights of students if they can’t even get us a simple reward after eight months? We might sound like babies making a big deal out of nothing, but “small” things can matter, as student trust depends on the school’s willingness to follow through on even the smallest matter. We would love to go back to advisory competitions, cutting out paper snowflakes and dressing up for spirit days, but we feel like there’s no point if we as students are not taken seriously. The students of the Teal Twix house don’t want other houses to suffer the disappointment we have suffered–we don’t want the school to be a cynical place where we have no faith in the people in charge. So we’re asking the adults in the building: make this right. Start getting better at following through on what you say. Until then, we of the Twix house respectfully decline to participate in team-building activities until our team is treated right.