Jack Larson: Take advantage of your opportunities

Downtown Belvidere,

Downtown Belvidere,

Jack Larson, Editor-in-Chief

The past four years of our lives have been a total roller coaster.

I don’t think that any student who has attended Belvidere High School in recent years can say things have gone the way he or she expected. Almost all of this can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, something none of us could have done anything to prevent. However, throughout my time at BHS, there have been many things students have been able to take action on but have chosen not to.

One pattern I’ve noticed is that, more than anything, students love to complain. They complain about our athletics, our grading system, our disciplinary policies, but most of all, they complain about the city of Belvidere itself.

Some of these complaints are valid. The implementation of Proficiency Based Grading provided boundless growing pains for many students. It was made worse when the school board made the decision to discard the grading system, making it seem that all of the extra trouble students have gone through was for nothing.

Other topics that have received many complaints have been hall sweeps and bathroom limitations. While these are tedious, students fail to realize that these are strictly the fault of  the students. It is understandable that students who are on time to class and don’t vandalize our bathrooms are upset, but this anger is often misdirected at the administration when the brunt of the frustration should really be aimed toward our classmates who created these situations in the first place.

By far the most humorous moment of my four years of high school was when students attempted to protest hall sweeps in the 2019-2020 school year by walking out of class and standing in the purple locker bay. As one of my teachers said to my class on that day: “Freedom of speech is great. But this is about the dumbest way you guys could’ve ever used it.”

I remember seeing the protesters compare the protest to the time that students got the school to lower the price of parking passes. However,  what they really needed to realize is that if you want to utilize our Freedom of Assembly to make a change, you actually need to have a concise thought process about how and why a change needs to be made.

That day, there was a great misconception that you can get whatever you want from the administration if you just gather in a crowd. The protest was a failure to the highest degree. The students who participated in that protenst got a short suspension, but it certainly created a hilarious spectacle to watch from the sidelines. Basically, if you want to take action, do it intelligently.

While there really have a lot of complaints about hall sweeps and school policies, they fail to reach the level of constant complaints about BHS athletics.

As many of our teams have been in the lower half of the conference throughout their seasons, students really love to joke about their performance, and constantly talk about how bad they are. To those students, I make this proposal: Go do something about it.

Go join the team and see if you really make a difference in the team’s performance. Otherwise, if you are one of the kids who goes straight home after school and sits on your couch, you should really stop complaining about the kids who are taking initiative to participate in the school’s culture until you can actually do something yourself.

This is the moral of the story: If you have something to complain about, take the initiative to do something to about it.

Similar unreasonable complaints are made about the city of Belvidere.

Most of the time when students normally don’t have foundational arguments for doing this, and really just complain about it due to their dislike of school or the situations they have created for themselves. People don’t realize that their situations could be much worse than they actually are.

We are lucky to even go to high school and have opportunities to participate in extracurriculars and student life. High school opens up so many opportunities for oneself; yet, many students choose not to take advantage of them.

That being said, I give my peers the following advice: Get involved. Don’t waste your opportunities. Make sure that you leave a mark on others in your life, and be sure to make a true positive impact on your community – and others around you.

This stage of life provides you with so many opportunities. Take them.