These past four years at South have been interesting. As we know, high school itself comes with its own challenges: studying, challenging classes, etc; but what we don’t really think about are challenges a tight knit community like Grosse Pointe faces. During my experience at this school, I’ve witnessed one too many incidents of hatred and division.
During my freshman year here at South, the Parkland shooting happened. Many students were outraged and decided to organize a walk out for the “March for our Lives” gun control movement. During the walk out, there were a few students holding out wooden spoons, “interviewing” people as to why they thought this walk out was necessary. As I watched, it felt like the students considered the walk out to be something funny.
The summer after my sophomore year, the notorious video of two South students calling each other racial slurs went viral. The actions and words in this video were disgusting. Now, one of them has been rewarded with a leadership position. I hope that they have learned and grown from their actions, but I still don’t feel it’s right to reward them with a role that influences others.
Right before school closed due to COVID-19, a student from Grosse Pointe North sadly committed suicide. Many students knew and loved him and wanted to set up a memorial at the rock to celebrate his life. Instead, administration shut this down by pouring white paint over the memorial because they said it was “glorifying” suicide. Suicide shouldn’t be glorified, but setting up a memorial in commemoration of a beloved student is NOT glorification, and this situation was handled very poorly.
As my senior year crept up on us, COVID-19 was in full swing. As teachers begged for more clarity, consistency and a safe plan, the school board turned a blind eye. Although they finally put together a “safe” plan by the second half on the year, many still believed it should’ve been reconstructed with safer measures. Tampering with consistency and safety measures throughout this pandemic has been detrimental to both teachers and students and caused a tense environment within the community.
When looking back at my time here at South, I’ve overall had a positive experience. There are many things we do well, but we still need to do better, Grosse Pointe. We must find a way to heal the division and hatred. It takes collaborative efforts and understanding one another. I hope that with the proper steps taken, this community can be at its greatest potential for future generations.