Monday, November 18, 2002

The case against seminar activities

Last Friday I went to the Ivy Tech Robotics Competition (got 5th place, and a red tshirt). Anyhow, since it was a Friday, we had to go back and attend seminar; we had a seminar activity.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Sig School has a seminar period every Friday, similar to homeroom periods at other schools. Unlike homeroom, however, Sig's administration tries to make seminar productive by letting us work on scholarship applications and community service and having informational speakers or videos broaden our horizons.

Last Friday (after Robotics) for seminar we watched a video on drugs, alcohol, and cigarrettes. Come on! While it would be absurd to claim that Sig has no drug abusers, we most definitely have a lower drug use rate than other schools. Moreover, everyone has had some drug and alcohol education in middle school or in high school health class. If people want to kill their brain cells, kill their liver, or burn their lungs, and 3 years of middle school education didn't stop that, an informational video sure isn't going to either. To top it off I was very tired after a long week preparing for speech, debate, and robotics simultaneously, sleeping only 3 hours the night before.

A few weeks ago we had a speaker from a children's mental hospital. No one really participated and while the speech managed to hold my waning attention (Friday afternoon...), it didn't really change my stance on mental illness. Children's mental illness is a sad thing in the world and it should be prevented if at all possible.

Both our seminar activities thus far have been worthless. Everyone was tired after a long week of school. The messages of the speeches or videos were hackneyed and no one really took them to heart. In short, the time spent on those seminar activities could have been used on something more productive.

Please don't make it mandatory to attend the seminar activities. Sure I wouldn't mind cleaning the stairs during one seminar for school service hours, but I'm sure there are others who would hate to do that. Likewise while some people may enjoy the seminar speeches, I don't, and I've confirmed with classmates that many others don't either. Let seminar activity be voluntary. I'd sign up for speakers who I think would be interesting. It'd work.


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