School varsity letters not recognizing excellence in many activities

By Gary Schmidt, Editor-in-Chief

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The origins of lettering trace back to 1865, in the shape of varsity sweaters, donned by members of the Harvard basketball team. Since then, what lettering is and how it is celebrated has transformed in a variety of different ways, almost always deferring to what is now considered the staple of a letterman jacket, with letters and patches celebrating the success’ that student has achieved in their respective activity.

Lawrence High has a grand tradition of lettering and has opened up the capability of lettering to a wider variety of activities, rather than just varsity athletics, and even in certain circumstances, has made the criteria necessary to achieve this award much less strenuous than before. This allows for a greater number of students to receive merit for their work, a commendable effort in my eyes.

However, certain activities still receive a blind eye in regards to the celebrated status of lettering. Effectively, school policies regarding lettering have determined that some activities are worth more than others. Some don’t deserve the rich reward of bearing a shiny emblem on a cozy red jacket as a matter of a technicality. As minor of a technicality this may be, this discredits the achievements of students everyday.

It is impossible to objectively state which activities are more important than others and this should be reflected in the lettering process at Lawrence High School.

I have been involved in a wide variety of activities, both ones I have received a varsity letter for and ones I have received no specific recognition for. Even from activity to activity, there is no fair way to establish what is a more arduous task, or what I have spent more time dedicated to. Each individual activity presents a unique set of challenges and requires a different set of skills.

However, the one thing that remains constant throughout is that they all require hard work and dedication.

From playing varsity football to showcasing your skills in art competitions, Lawrence High boasts a wide variety of talents all brought together by the pride of representing a great school and the unbelievable effort that students put into their passions.

I am by no means advocating for lettering as a form of participation trophies. All letters given in this school are ones that are earned through excellence in whatever avenue that may be. Simply, the undeniable talent of many Lawrence High students from journalism to Unified Sports to art and countless others are left recognized.

Lawrence High must recognize this as an opportunity to demonstrate the pride it bears for the students who proudly represent it each and every day.