Staff Agreement: 75%
Spartan Boys Hockey made it to the MSHSL state tournament for the first time in school history. Congratulations are in order, and the school should support them as they play. However, the school should not compromise the hard work of the students who planned and the organizations that agreed welcome students for SPA’s bi-annual Service Day by canceling half the day of service so that students will be free to attend the unconfirmed semifinal hockey game this Friday.
The St. Paul Academy and Summit School websites states that “We shape their hearts by teaching them how to be sensitive to the personal struggles of others.” This, in reference to the school’s mission statement, “To shape the minds and the hearts of the people that will change the world,” indicates that getting students involved in the larger community is important to the leaders of the school. However, the school sends the complete opposite message when they plan to cancel parts of one of the most powerful, defining, and educational events on the SPA calendar for students to go to a hockey game.
While it is important to support the athletes of our school and all of their accomplishments, service should be put first. Cancelling parts of Service Day sends a message to the SPA community that athletics are more important than service. Sophomores, who spend a large part of the year dedicated to service, will not participate in Service Day at all in there’s a hockey game on Friday.
Additionally, canceling Service Day today might mean the end of Service days to come. Asking the service organizations to accommodate over 400 students was a lot to ask. Canceling on them last minute may leave them without help they planned for and lead them to trust SPA’s reliability for future service events. While Service Day should be about building relationships with the outside community and the service organizations, bailing on them this year might ruin the school’s chance to return to these organization in the future.
This is not to say that the boys hockey team does not deserve the support of the community. However, this is to say that the school canceling parts of service day to support an athletic team is completely contradictory to the values and the mission of the school. It also sends a message to every member of our community, a message that is sobering and sounds like something straight out of the Dillon, Texas of Friday Night Lights: high school hockey is more important than service and the mission of our school.
When one sport becomes more important the values of the school, it is a sign of a problem that needs to be fixed. So start by fixing this problem: honor the hard work put in by those who planned Service Day and allow that cornerstone day to continue as planned.