Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Senior Statements – Little Awareness and Limiting the First Amendment?!

The senior statement section of the yearbook has been pretty quiet for a while. Many seniors are unaware they can have a sentence in the school’s yearbook to commemorate their eventful years at Oakland Tech. Any audible school announcements during advisory would surely bring more awareness and participation. And yet, it’s simply a Google Form with three questions- one of which is your full name. They ask for no more than five accomplishments, including the years, and that it’s under 85 characters. The final ask is the statement, also with an 85-character limit, and has only two prompts. “Question #1: What is your most memorable moment from high school?” “Question #2: What are your most memorable moments from high school?” These questions are essentially the same, excluding the grammatical change in singular to plural form. Although it might seem a bit petty to find such an issue with this, it is quite limiting to have two similar options when this is one of the few things people want to leave behind and be remembered for in high school. One senior mentioned they wanted theirs to be “embracing change, shaping futures ahead”; however, with these options, they would be unable to despite being perfectly appropriate. The First Amendment of the United States gives freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition. Now, exercising my freedom of the press, I’d like to encourage the school to take a step further and allow us to do so with our statements as well by providing diverse prompts or making them optional. This is a turning point for seniors, whether it’s college, jobs, trade school, or a gap year, it’s an enormous transition from kid to adult. The senior statement would be a monumental moment before transitioning to the next step in these seniors’ lives. This change would further align with Oakland Tech’s values in student voice and empowerment. Seniors should be allowed at least a little more freedom in their senior statements.