At West Orange, sports make a heavy impact on everyone, and tend to be the reason our school is talked about. In the recent years however, academics have taken a dive for the worst. Test scores have dropped, GPA’s are low, and the number of AP students that perform high is slowly decreasing. Although teachers and staff are trying to change this drop to a rise, the majority of students can’t find the motivation to do better. Where there’s a drop in academics, there is a rise in athletics. Football season was a hit even if we lost the state championship, basketball season was successful, as well as volleyball and baseball. What’s the rise and fall about? And why can’t we get a hold of both sides and make an even and fair settlement between them?
AP classes aren’t filtered anymore, and there is no real test to determine if students actually belong in a class of higher level thinking. There tends to be quite large AP classes with a good mix of AP students, and students who were just placed in the class because they had no room in any other classes. It’s hard for teachers to teach in a classroom of mixed students, if they teach too fast some students can’t keep up, if they teach too slow some students will be done too fast and get distracted. Students who don’t perform at a higher level fall behind and struggle to keep up with their classmates. Where those who do perform higher finish their work faster, and become bored at a faster rate in class. This hurts students Grade Point Average and chances to perform higher in the classroom. “It’s challenging because you have students that aren’t on the curriculum. It’s a challenge to keep up the rhythm,”Chemistry/ Environmental Science Teacher, Mr. Williams said.
Although it seems as if the AP students have it hard, athletes tend to work in a different way. Athletes typically work everyday, and show off their work in many more ways than tests, like academic students. From extreme work outs, to challenging practice games these hard workers spend their time preparing for their next opportunity to use their sporty skill set. “They work hard everyday. You have to be very special from this program”, Head Football Coach, Coach Thompson said.
Even though both parties work extremely hard, there is a constant debate about the inequality between the two. Does West Orange-Stark administration favor athletics over academics? Do teachers and coaches give false grades to sports players to allow them to play at their next game? These are all questions outsiders of WOS ask themselves and others, but none of these are the case. The football players of West Orange are known for their win streaks, and their back to back State Championship wins and they work extremely hard to reach those goals and wins.
So, the question is, what are the academic students known for? Why does the community hear more about the beloved football team? West Orange-Stark students are on a moral decline when it comes to those who have motivation to go above and beyond to make a name for WOS academics. Students with the want to do great things are few and far between. And although all of those things may be true, those who do find motivation work extremely hard to get to where they are. “You need Injury, Grades, and Attitude to play. If you get an injury you rely on grades, you need grades to play, and if you have an attitude you can’t play”, Coach T said.
It may seem as if these two hard working groups are separated, however they actually go hand in hand. To play a sport you have to have passing grades. And some AP and Pre-AP students are popular sports players, and brag about both their athletic abilities and their intelligence. Therefore, the division placed between athletics and academics needs to be broken down, they all work extremely hard to be apart of their teams and UIL’s and deserve a break from hearing about the negativity. Break the stereotype that academics and athletics can’t be one and appreciate the good things that come out of both like scholarships and college. “Kinda makes it easier, playing sports is harder than school. Dedication prepares me for the classroom”, Sophomore Steven Wilkerson said.