Privilege turns into punishment for upperclassmen

  At the beginning of the year, administration made a deal with juniors and seniors on the first day of school. During the first day of school assembly, principal Randy Luebbert announced that if seniors keep their attendance above 90 percent, no discipline for three weeks prior and their grades no lower than a C, they could leave school 25 minutes early during Academic Lab every Friday. The idea was birthed through leadership team meetings and the steering committee. Teachers and administration put a lot of thought into how they were going to start a reward system for kids who led a great example in Warsaw High through their academic and attendance achievements.

  “Poyser’s previous school had a similar deal and so did my high school. It’s a really good incentive to have students come in and do what’s right,” Luebbert said. “We always ask students what kind of reward would they like. For example, cookies at lunch. But it’s always the same; they just want to get out of school.”

  Juniors were invited to join the early leave so long as seniors didn’t abuse this right. A portion of the seniors and juniors met the requirements in anticipation of having an extra 25 minutes shaved off of their school schedule. One detail that was not mentioned to students during the assembly, however, was that their attendance gets a strike every time they leave early on Fridays.

  “I left early on Fridays every time juniors were allowed to,” junior Madie Gardner said. “I don’t think that making those days count against our attendance is the right thing to do. They told us it wouldn’t at the assembly and they need to stick to their word.”

  Thanks to technology director Shawn Crouch, it was revealed to both Luebbert and the rest of administration that they are required to count the days in which students are not physically present in the building. In the past it was not a requirement.

  “When I proposed this deal to the students, I didn’t know that,” Luebbert said. “Obviously we want kids to be here and get good grades – that’s what most schools want.

It’s just a way to reward the kid who comes every day and does what’s right.

— Principal Randy Luebbert

It helps to recognize the kid that maybe doesn’t get their name in the paper every week or isn’t the ‘sport’s star’ or the ‘band star’. It’s just a way to reward every single kid that comes here and does the right thing.”

  Due to this miscalculation, students are upset about the privilege turning into what now seems to be a punishment. Although it’s only 25 minutes shaved off of their attendance once a week, if students continue doing this for the rest of the year it will amount to almost 7 hours lost on attendance. A lot of participating students don’t mind this amount of time taken out of their attendance.

  “I left 3 or 4 times before they announced that it went against your attendance,” junior Jake Luebbert said. “I’m still gonna do it. I don’t think they need to do anything to make up for the attendance lost – most of the people that it affected still have a fine attendance. Seven hours lost isn’t a whole lot.”

  Jake Luebbert believes that a good alternative to early leave on Fridays could be hosting a dodgeball game in the gym. He also thinks that allowing students who reach the standards to attend Warsaw High games for free would make a great incentive for students to continue raising both grades and attendance.

  However, students still believe that if it was offered to the student body as a privilege, it shouldn’t have repercussions. Some students are even demanding they excuse the absences that occured before the school explained that early leave on Fridays affects attendance.

  “It doesn’t show on my record that my attendance was changed, but I did leave every time it was offered,” junior Brenna Smith said. “I don’t know if that’s true, but either way it wasn’t a whole lot of time lost.”

  Senior Devin Bartley has spent his entire high school career striving for a perfect attendance with zero absences or tardies. Because of early-leave, however, he now is unable to celebrate his success in qualifying grades and perfect attendance.

“I had no idea that the early-leave affected attendance,” Bartley said. “It’s hard to keep my attendance record; especially when I get sick, because then it’s really stressful to decide whether to come or not. If this privilege didn’t strike against attendance, I would use the extra 25 minutes to go home and play video games.”

  To tie in with attendance, some students are under the impression that the senior week tradition has died due to the new, stricter attendance rules. Senior skip week was an old Warsaw High tradition in which the graduating class had the opportunity to spend a week outside of school participating in fun activities set up by themselves. In recent years, administration has worked to set up activities for the graduating class outside of school. Luebbert says that he was unaware of the tradition, however last year he did help host a BBQ at the harbor.

  “I’ve never heard of a senior week,” Luebbert said. “But we did do some things for the graduating class last year and I think they all appreciated it and had fun.”

  Senior Kyra Kleihauer has always wanted to spend her last few weeks with her classmates doing fun-filled activities and helping each other with the next step in their life. At first, Kleihauer was under the impression that seniors would not receive a proper senior week.

  “I was really upset when I first learned that there would be no senior week for our class. I heard it through everyone else, because they were talking about how Luebbert had no idea what it was,” senior Kyra Kleihauer said. “At first I was upset because I felt like that would be a good time for the whole class to bond since we’re not close anymore. But, then I realized that the staff and Mr. Luebbert made it possible for us to go out and do things; it just has to be school regulated.”

  The junior class still retains hope, however, that they will revive the original senior skip week tradition, in which the activities planned are set up and orchestrated completely by the students themselves.

  “Right now I don’t care about the lack of a senior week cause I’m not a senior,” Gardener said. “It seems like at the moment, their reward system is really just a bunch of different punishments. Personally, I’m confident we’ll get it changed our year. Our class president will make sure it happens.”