Senior Says Hope is Not Lost at ASK, Scholars Need to Reclaim Their School

November 5, 2013


This editorial is in response to an opinion piece published on Monday. Go here to read the editorial by Karen Pierce.

Editorial By Jacob Lutz

For those of you who are new to ASK, the hallways weren’t always so hectic and unfriendly. Granted, they have always been a bit cramped, but there was room for community. Scholars walked more slowly, the conversation was more vibrant, yet you could still hear Mr. Stephenson’s daily flavor of music resounding through the halls. Managers were posted comfortably at their doors, instigating friendly conversation, and keeping watch over the students (though I never felt like I was being watched). There was room for walking, chatting, flirting, breathing, high-fiving everyone (managers included), and smiling. This year, ASK has become less of a tight-knit, friendly community and more of a loose collection of cliques, couples, and loners that no one takes the time to greet. The ASK environment is no longer conducive to a single student “body” that takes personal responsibility. The peer pressure that once worked in favor of the managers and enforced the ASK attitude has begun to shift its focus.

Rules and “crack-downs” alone will not stop the ASK cornerstones from vanishing. A heightened sense of responsibility and community among the scholars will reignite the respect and trust between scholars and managers, improve the learning environment, and make ASK scholars and managers happier.

The intense classroom environments, extensive manager involvement, and the tight-knit student community with decent morals used to create an atmosphere that was very hostile to those who were not at ASK to learn, grow, and mature. These students would come and go, but what remained semester after semester was a well-cemented, firmly-united (but very friendly and open) community.

As freshmen in high school, we (the classes of 2013 and 2014) were told to take responsibility for the Academy; that if we invested into our school, the rewards would be great. The class of students that heard those words began to form clubs, build healthy student-manager relationships, and invest time and attention into projects. There were more scholar activities, and students used those opportunities to build friendships. In other words, scholars displayed the ASK attitude.

That first class of freshman is now the senior class. Swamped with college applications, beginning to show the early signs of Senioritis, and beginning to isolate themselves from the other classes, that class is no longer the powerful influence for good that it was. The problem is that the baton of student responsibility was never passed on.

There is an immense power for a group of young high schoolers to be told to “own” a campus and the ASK attitude. There is an immense responsibility for the scholar body to take charge of a school (with manager direction), but that responsibility is where ASK shines best; not through laptops, uniforms, long weekends, or even excellent teachers. The ASK Academy is not a building, but a community of scholars and managers investing time, attention, and friendships for the benefit of the scholars’ education. Scholars taking responsibility for themselves and their campus has always been what sets ASK apart from other schools. If that is lost with the graduation of the Senior class, ASK’s future is grim.

There is hope. If our students start new friendships, rebuild healthy relationships with the managers, and encourage and help their friends with classwork, we can strengthen and reunite the dismembered factions of scholars and managers. If the managers present more opportunities to grow the community (even in small ways) and encourage the students to take charge of their school, the scholars will pick up after themselves, rebuild the trust that has been broken, and begin to reinstitute the positive peer pressure that has existed in past. Scholars, in turn, need only to respond to the prompting of the managers, and we can get rid of the hall passes and dictatorial rules. Those students who return in the Spring and Fall of 2014 will be stronger, and the ASK attitude will not only continue, but thrive.

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2 Comments on “Senior Says Hope is Not Lost at ASK, Scholars Need to Reclaim Their School”

  1. Mr S Says:

    Wow, incredibly stated. Let this be the anthem that makes the tide turn back to the intended learning environment this founder intended for ASK.

    Great words Jacob, did you help us write the Charter?

    Mr Stephenson


  2. Ian Kinler Says:

    I agree, this is exactly what happened at MVMS last year. If you keep putting more rules, only the honest will do them. The dishonest can break those rules easily. If you really want to stop this, stop the source(s).


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