By Rose Chen
As a technical high school, last week should have been one of the most celebrated weeks in the whole year. Brooklyn Tech hosted its annual Engineers week with a series of competitions that involved scientific and engineering events, but the usual sea of students that should have crowded the area was reduced to the point in which I could probably count the number of people in each class with good accuracy. This reflects not just a declining interest in STEM, but more importantly, a lack of school spirit.
For starters, attendance for the event by students was often incentivized by teachers with the promise of extra credit. For the boat race on Friday, a total of 13 groups participated, and while they had a lot of fun in the end, almost all of them admitted that they joined for the extra boost to their grade. Kelly Cao’17 expressed her conflicted sentiment for the event and states “Things turned out ok because we ended up genuinely liking the project. It’s just kind of sad that even with the extra credit, there were fewer boats than we expected.”
The number of people who showed up to watch the boat race was even more disappointing. The benches at the pool were mostly filled by the teams themselves and a couple of teachers. When there are only a handful of students who knew about the race in the first place, the last thing the school should have done is turn them away by charging three dollars for admissions.
“Many of my friends who waited a period to come and support me ended up leaving because they found out they had to pay,” according to Kelly. While it is understandable that the school was trying to raise money, it needs to find better ways to do so. Admission fees discourage students from caring about school events and supporting each other. In order to highlight the technical aspect of Brooklyn Tech, the school has to take the initiative to rally support in ways that students are receptive to.
Despite the decline in school spirit, all hope is not lost for there are many teachers doing a great job promoting participation in school events. Nazmin Akter ’17 is extremely thankful towards Mr. Lee, a biology/chemistry teacher at Brooklyn Tech, and says that, “Even though none of us has him as a teacher, he still let us put the boat in his room and gave us advice on making the paddles. We didn’t win, but his advice helped us finish the race without sinking.”
Though students carried on with this year’s Engineers Week, the administration ultimately needs to work on nurturing school spirit within the student body. A recent priority on raising school funds seems to have diminished school pride and respect, but a joint effort between students and school staff to revive them may fill this gap that leaves the Brooklyn Tech community less united.