“You know we trap all day, we play all night, this is the life of a go getta.” Damn right, Young Jeezy. Nothing exciting ever happens in the afternoon. People have brunches and tea parties in the afternoon. Many people wake up in the afternoon. The afternoon is simply transition time from feeling groggy to feeling energized. So why is it that SING!, the most exciting event of the school year, is being demoted from a primetime slot at night to a daytime one akin to that of Oprah? Apparently we party too hard, and the big city is too daunting for us at night.
The proposed change in next year’s Saturday SING! performance time, from 7:00 p.m. to sometime in the afternoon, isn’t yet official. According to Principal Stanley Teitel, in the article “Teitel Proposes SING! Matinee,” in Issue 15 of The Spectator, he proposed the change after receiving an e-mail from a parent of a freshman who was concerned about her child being out in the city late at night. The parent asked him “why don’t we just start SING! earlier?”
It is impetuous to propose change to a long-standing Stuyvesant tradition because of complaints from parents who probably don’t appreciate SING! anyway. Aside from the fact that staying out late is one of the more alluring parts of the experience for some students, it is normal for the average high school student to become accustomed to doing so. If the administration is worried about students staying out late, why not cancel all after school activities so we can be home by 4:00 p.m. and be in bed by 9:30 p.m.?
Even if the concern is related to the SING! after party, moving SING! to an earlier time slot would not prevent one from taking place. Although primarily Stuyvesant students attend it, the after party is not in any way affiliated with the school. It is therefore not the administration’s place to worry about it. The decision to attend should be made by the parent and child, without the administration’s involvement. SING! is the climactic event of the school year and deserves a climactic ending. A mosh pit in the afternoon just does not have the same feel as a moshpit at midnight. And Teitel might feel less inclined to do the Macarena in daylight.
Ultimately, using the school building during SING! is a privilege, albeit a necessary one for our student body. However, the change in the SING! time slot is not the only privilege that has recently been interfered with for unjust reasons.
Ridiculously enough, the lower grades are getting punished for the actions of the grades above them. The incoming freshman class may have their lunch privileges completely revoked because of minor issues with a few students in the current student body. There was no Soph-Frosh Semi-formal this year because select students in the junior grade were caught intoxicated last year. The list continues.
We do not deserve privileges because we are Stuyvesant students. Rather, we must prove to the administration that we are mature enough to keep our privileges. The negligent behaviors of a few students reflect poorly on the student body as a whole. Regrettably, we can only congregate on three floors during free and lunch periods because we are supposedly messy and loud. Understandably, we can’t dress provocatively. But there are continuous threats of more basic student privileges being taken away, with nothing drastic and effective being done in response. Sorry, Student Union (SU), great ideas like Stuyspace only go so far unless they are enforced for longer than one semester. Sorry, ambiguous Facebook “take action” groups: dressing snazzy for one day won’t help revoke a make-believe dress code.
As a student body, we seem blissfully unaware of the fact that threats to take away basic student privileges have been present since the early 2000s.. It is only recently, however, that we have allowed these threats to play out. In fact, Stuyvesant students, even in pre-Facebook times, fought for their rights and made effective compromises with the administration. In 2003, the student body was outraged when Teitel threatened to take away privileges to go outside during free and lunch periods. In protest, the SU organized a sit-in on the second floor. During their free and lunch periods, students sat around the senior bar, and the crowds covered the majority of the second floor. Though the administration initially tried to ignore the situation, they eventually compromised by taking away only free period privileges when students threatened to get the media involved.
There are no longer compromises between students and the administration, a mark of the gradual decline in effective communication and willingness to take action. The fact of the matter is, the administration is not “students first” anymore, as it was when Jinx Perullo was principal. It seems that in recent years, our failure to act in unison has become a rationalization for the administration to go ahead with faulty decisions.
Changing the time of SING! next year would be a serious blow to the student body. Teitel said that “The tradition is SING!, not the time when it’s performed.” However, it would be foolish of us to allow something that represents such unity to change simply because we fail to unite effectively. Our forms of communication may be juvenile, whimsical, and ineffective, but we still have it within us to take action and protest in real and spontaneous ways. We need to go back to Stuy’s era of sit-ins and general student awareness. We need to make the administration feel uneasy. If no effective action is taken now, our voice as a student body may become obsolete in the future. It’s time to get our school back to where it needs to be-where students are the first priority.