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Out With the Old, In With the New: Lack of student voice contributed to Arena elimination


Graphic by Connie Zhou '12

The Board of Education’s 6-1 decision to eliminate Arena scheduling was not a surprise. In a 2004 Inklings article, a writer noted that “in February of 1999… [then-principal] Gloria Rakovic officially abolished Arena… without much student consent.”

Although later restored, Arena has always been a controversial process.

What re-established Arena was largely student protest. As the Inklings article reports, “Rakovic’s decision was revoked because of overwhelming student feedback. Students were very passionate about maintaining Arena because it has been a part of the community and culture for 31 years.”

This “overwhelming student feedback” was entirely absent from this year’s debate over Arena.

As boys’ varsity soccer coach and blogger Dan Woog reported, “there was virtually no student or parent outcry in favor of keeping Arena, either before or during the Board of Education discussion.”

This is not to say that all students want to get rid of Arena. Several comments on showed that students approved of Arena. One posted that “Arena was one of the few things at Staples that actually put the students in a position where they had to figure stuff out for themselves.” Another wrote that “seniors deserve to pick their schedules.” Most tellingly, one student felt that “the Board of Education failed to ask students what they thought of Arena.”

It’s true that the BOE has a responsibility to serve the student body. At the same time, students have a responsibility to make their views known. In other words, if students wanted to keep Arena scheduling, they should have done something. Actions, like showing up to a BOE meeting, speak louder than words.

They did not share their voices this year, and if Arena is to be brought back in the future, it will not occur because of an increased budget— it will only happen if students speak up.

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