What is Awesome Day?

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What is Awesome Day?

Sophie Wojciechowski, Senior Editor

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This year at Cuba-Rushford, as I am sure most of you know, we have a new campaign called “Be Awesome.” Miss Ralston, the middle school principle, along with Mrs. Morgan, the sixth grade science and advanced biology teacher, together came up with the idea. The theme wasn’t planned or brainstormed, which Miss Ralston found more authentic. The entire point of the campaign is to celebrate the good that is in our district, to “focus on the awesome,” and take a break from the regular hustle and bustle of every day.

So far, we have had two Awesome Days. On these days, there are events in the morning and fun, upbeat music playing. The first day was a high five train. From the teachers I talked to, none of them could make it due to homeroom duties, but from the students I talked to who had to go through it most thought that it was fun, but could also be bad for students with anxiety. One student in particular said that the high five train was overwhelming. A few of the teachers agreed with the students, even saying that it felt superficial and fake. One reason for this is that some teachers and students in the mornings find themselves to not be all excited and pumped up and ready for the day. Doing a high five train and being excited like that felt fake for some of the teachers that did take part in it. The more recent Awesome Day, in my opinion, was a lot better. In the morning, there were teachers in the lobby handing out high fives to students who wanted them and there was good music playing. However, the idea still stands that the Awesome Days feels superficial and somewhat fake. Some teachers and students disagreed with how the winners of the Awesome Reward were chosen. They thought that picking randomly was a bad idea due to someone who might be more worthy of the Awesome Reward not getting it. However, they also did agree with the random picking because it could rule out a bias. As for future Awesome Days, they will all be a surprise.

From the teachers I have interviewed about #BeAwesome, most of them agree with it and what it is standing for, but don’t know exactly what it is or why we have it. From a high school standpoint, it feels a little childish and fabricated. Mr. Ullman, the US History and Economics and Government teacher, especially found the entire ordeal childish. He said that in high school, students should be doing good things for nothing and not for an award. He said “be middle school and let us be high school.” He supports the campaign for middle school and elementary school, but still finds everything, in the high school at least, to be cosmetic and fake. Additionally, he believes that “if everything is awesome, then nothing is awesome,” and because everything is encouraged to be awesome, the entire campaign gives off more of a cosmetic feel. Ms. Grillo, at first, also thought it was childish and she didn’t like it. But, after some internal discussion, she has come to like it. What she doesn’t like, however, is that the administration is rewarding students for doing things that they should do without thought or rewards. She feels that students should be kind and awesome without rewards and that it could train kids to do nice things and expect rewards. Both Mr. Ullman and Ms. Grillo find that awarding good behavior can take away from the authenticity of kindness.

Of the middle school students that I talked to, they all thought that it was great. The liked that they would get rewarded for doing good things and they liked how pumped the teachers were on the Awesome Days during the high five train. However, the high school students found it to be childish and forced. In addition, no one really knows much about it, other than from what teachers have told them. One student I talked to said that “high schoolers don’t need high fives and a slapped on smile to feel good about their day.” This student enjoyed the music, but the high five train felt fake and too positive for their liking. Another student said that they didn’t like the way that the Awesome Rewards were rewarding students for acts that shouldn’t be rewarded because students should be expected to do that. Additionally, students asked for certain rewards that they could get instead, such as food rather than the t-shirts, and their requests were ignored. Both middle and high school students would like to have food as well as the t-shirt for the prizes. I also found that the students themselves would like to be able to nominate teachers or even other students for the Awesome Rewards. In order for the reward to be wanted, however, the reward itself would need some significance. As of right now, the t-shirts that we have are not really wanted by certain students, especially those in the high school. If the reward had some significance, like a privilege or food, the reward may be wanted more. Even though this campaign is district wide, it does not fit high school as well as it does middle school and elementary school. High school is a more mature level, students aren’t guided through their classes as much, they are pursuing individual interests that they have, and students are getting ready to go to college and face the real world. Middle school age students are more grouped together and helped along their way. High school students don’t want to be rewarded for things they have done for years without thinking of the incentive. Plus, we already have the Rebel Recognition Breakfast, which is a way for students to be recognized due to a nomination by a teacher. However, the Rebel Recognition Breakfast recognizes students for everyday acts, like continuing to do their homework despite maybe not understanding the topic. The Awesome Days recognize students who go above and beyond the expeditions set on them.

In all of my interviews with the teachers, I asked them how they thought the entire campaign could be better. None of them really knew how to make it better other than educating students as well as themselves on it. Some of the teachers I talked to didn’t know what kind of things to reward students for and didn’t know why we even had this campaign. To solve this solution, I thought it would be good to have a school wide assembly that explains what the point of the Awesome Theme is and show people what this is trying to do. In doing this, it can clear the confusion and maybe get more people excited for it. Additionally, a teacher said that as a reward, we should “allow students chosen for Be Awesome Day to go on a field trip during a school day to do something legitimately awesome for their community, like work in a soup kitchen.” This could be a way to show students how to be awesome outside of school as well. Celebrating the awesome in our district is a good thing to do, as long as we do it the right way.

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1 Comment

One Response to “What is Awesome Day?”

  1. Student on November 26th, 2017 10:23 pm

    I don’t really like this whole idea because it just gives me inziety and it stresses me out especially being crowded and the hi five thing

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