Editorial: Bring back the Akins culture we once knew


Editorial Board

After 18 months of virtual learning, students are finally back on campus. The once empty halls are now filled with students walking from class to class. The long-anticipated “return to normal” has finally happened, but it feels like a forced one.

We miss the Akins we once knew, where coming to school was enjoyable and we could feel a sense of community in the air.

Especially for juniors and seniors who remember what Akins was like before the pandemic, this year has served as a reminder that even though we’re back on campus, the Akins culture and spirit that used to resonate through the hallways is not the same.

The Eagle’s Eye believes that student and school life needs not only a rejuvenation in school culture back to a nostalgic sense of normalcy, but also a relaxation of the rules that have emerged this year with checkpoints in the hallways, tardy sweeps, and interrogative security.

It has been a tough start for everyone at Akins this year, with staff, administrators, teachers, and students alike all having their own unique challenges. For students, it has been difficult to see cherished events like Blue and Gold Night postponed and to see tensions between classmates flare as well as rampant damage and vandalism across campus. We believe there has to be collaboration and unity between all of us to fix these problems and rebuild the campus culture we all love about Akins. This school not only has a foundation of concrete and steel beams, but a foundation of us students, staff, administration, and teachers.

The postponement of Blue & Gold Night, which was was perhaps the biggest annual unifying event of the entire school year, has been particularly difficult for students. Students look forward to Blue and Gold Night every year, participating in clubs and organizations that host booths for food and games and seeing their friends perform. Friends and family of Akins students and staff also look forward to Blue and Gold Night, contributing to the loss of our sense of community and enjoyment. We hope that campus administration will soon announce a new date to host Blue & Gold Night so we don’t lose out on the opportunity to enjoy this event entirely this year.

The miscommunication surrounding whether students would be able to dress up for Halloween also took a toll on students. Initially, students were under the impression that we would be able to dress up for Halloween in conjunction with a spirit day activity to support the football team. While students have never been allowed to dress up on Halloween in previous years because of safety concerns, it was upsetting for students at Akins to see friends at nearby high schools being allowed to wear costumes to school on the Friday before Halloween. We believe that rules should be put in place in the future that will allow students to dress up in safe ways while following restrictions for safety and limiting classroom distractions.

The return of regular tardy sweeps has also been upsetting for students, making it difficult for students to enjoy their time on campus. The idea of tardy sweeps is to get students to class on time, but the reality is that students would rather miss the entire class period than waiting in a line for 15 minutes just to get a tardy pass. While tardy sweeps might have some temporary positive outcomes, the longer we enforce tardy policy in this way, we fear that it could lead to negative effects on our education by wasting valuable instruction time. Though we understand and appreciate that all of these are measures that administrators take for our safety, we believe that we need to bring back the fun and sense of community that we all used to know and love. While we know that funding is tight and administrations don’t have much free time on their hands, we believe that we shouldn’t stop trying to plan for fun events, which many students are looking forward to right now. We need to work to try and bring back what you might be able to call “organized fun.” We’ve already had almost two years of our high school experience robbed from us, so it’s imperative that we make the most out of what’s left.

To improve student life, the biggest thing that Akins needs right now is to bring back the fun and rebuild the relationship between students and staff. No one is going to have a good time at Akins if students and administrators keep going at each other like cats and dogs. We need a way to decompress from the difficulty of adjusting back to an in-person setting. We suggest that Akins implements things for students to look forward to, like Blue and Gold Night or school dances that will help build better relationships between students and staff and restore the school spirit of the past.

It feels as if we are left with the more monotonous things we don’t enjoy about school. We need to give everyone, especially the underclassmen who haven’t experienced Akins before the pandemic, a chance to participate in the events that make us proud Akins Eagles.