Before we are fractured

Students question effectiveness of school motto


Victoria Van


This has already been written. Time and time again. Not only by us, but by individuals across the globe. The same words are used in hopes that maybe repetition and accusatory phrases will get the job done, but we keep finding ourselves gridlocked in a synonymous state. The names may be different; the situations may vary. But the faces are the same.

They say we are supposed to be “tiger strong.” We are supposed to be spirit filled, football game attending, studious students. But life isn’t always that simple, and sometimes we get knocked down, flat on our faces.

The things that we experience, the stories we live to tell, are important. They are significant, and they matter, and we all deserve someone to reach out to, someone to lean on when our knees become too shaky to stand.  That is the meaning of “tiger strong.” Kindness. Altruism. Courage.

For some peculiar reason, the student body only finds it necessary to show this kind of love after a tragedy occurs. We are human, and it is what we do. However, because we are human, we owe it to ourselves to be stronger than this. We owe it to ourselves to be kind, even when the moment doesn’t call for it. That’s what matters most.

But we haven’t been that for each other lately. Instead, we hear the chants of school pride and leadership, but we are still silent. Why? Why are we silent in the midst of the storm, when we know how much someone else needs our support? Maybe it’s fear holding us back from reaching out to others, or maybe we have just become jaded from the lack of consolation.

“Tiger strong” is a mantra that has been dismally patronized, and it shouldn’t be. A simple phrase of encouragement shouldn’t be received with cynicism or a roll of an eye. It should be a deliberate declaration of endurance and perseverance, and it should show the soul of our community.

We set the tone for the future because we are the future. Not the administration, not the teachers, not our parents. It’s our obligation to make sure we get help, to find the courage to speak up, and from there, become active in our beliefs. It’s up to us to stand firm on our ground and not back down even when it hurts. For it is during that time of pain that we gain strength and solidarity. We cannot blame a high school staff for a cultural problem, nor can we continue to paint circles and expect the final picture to be a straight line.

Yes, the faces are the same. We have heard these words before, we have pointed fingers and we have thought of the problems and solutions. We just have to start moving. Change the routine, change the way our community thinks, change the implication that “tiger strong” is an empty phrase utilized by the administration staff. This year, and the following years, can be different. No, it won’t be instantaneous, and it won’t be something easily attainable; it takes thick skin, and a conscience resolve to be better.

We were placed together for a reason. We may not understand why the tragedies fall so hard, but we can be certain that from this darkness, a light will soon emerge, and when we see that light, we must chase it with our whole hearts and minds.

And change.