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Is Miami Senior High’s student involvement going down?

Miami High alumna Ms. Rivero(left) with the MHS cheerleaders during the 1989 homecoming parade.

   For Miami Senior High, many believe we are no longer in the glory days of student participation in extracurricular activities. The alumni and school staff believe activities and student involvement don’t compare to when they were in school. The clubs, class officers and teachers push to involve the students, but it’s been a rough battle.  


Why has student involvement gone down? 

   “Students have become more apathetic and they think being involved in student activities is cringy,” says English Honor Society advisor Mr. Jimenez, “but they are missing out on making memories they can only make in this time of their life.”  

      Ms. Armas, junior class sponsor and Color Guard advisor, believes students have lost touch with the importance of being involved in their school. “Kids now don’t want to participate in something that won’t reward them or give them physical results of their participation,” she disappointedly says. “Teachers now give extra credit if students attend an afterschool activity which doesn’t motivate students to go otherwise.”  

   On the contrary, SGA 2nd Vice President Shanik Valdez thinks student participation has increased compared to last year, the first school year without COVID rules.  


How has COVID affected student involvement? 

Ms. Rivero, Class of ’89 graduate, during the Winter Show “ELF BI Searches for Santa”

   Activities director and Class of 2024 advisor Ms. Rivero, who works tirelessly to host events for the student body, expresses her concerns about the decrease in student participation. “I believe COVID was a big cause of this because students were remote for a year,” she says.  “The students didn’t learn from their upperclassmen what to do and how to get involved.”  

   Mr. Jimenez agrees.  He says after the two years of COVID, students have forgotten the importance of school activities and believe that clubs and activities don’t matter anymore.  

   Senior Matthew Rodriguez is Beta public relations officer as well as 2nd vice president for Choir. He has been involved in multiple clubs all four years of his high school and believes school activities and events are what makes high school fun. “Being involved in a club, even if you join alone, you make friends and meet people that you would never expect to get to know, and those memories make your high school experience memorable,” he said.  

   President of Class of 2024 Haniela Reyes agrees. She says, “COVID put a barrier on student involvement because it lost its flow. Traditions that happened before COVID weren’t continued.” Although new traditions were being created, Haniela feels that they don’t have the same impact that they did before the pandemic.   


How will this impact MHS Traditions? 

   Many of the people involved in activities are Miami High alumni and they strive to uphold the traditions and history of Miami Senior High. Class of 1986 graduate Ms. Armas attempted to bring back an old tradition of jinx dolls which represent the colors of our rival schools during football season. Leading up to the game against Coral Gables, she tried to sell the jinx dolls for $5. “Unfortunately, students now wouldn’t pay for merch because they don’t feel the same spirit as we did when we were in school,” she said.  

     Ms. Armas reminisces about the times when she attended Miami Senior High and the differences in student participation then and now. “When I came here and was a majorette, our girls had many fundraisers and cute traditions for the games such as the jinx dolls, the buttons that represent rival schools, and other memorabilia.” She has observed that if we bring back these traditions, students don’t see the value in paying for school merch because they feel embarrassed to represent their school spirit. 

    Ms. Armas isn’t the only one complaining about how current Stings lack tradition. “When the choir sings the alma mater at pep rallies, students look around the confused,” says Tri-M and choir president Valia Velazquez. “A lot of them don’t know the tradition of raising their hands with the number of years they have left to graduate.” Valia says the lack of school spirit from students makes events like pep rallies seem boring.  


How have clubs suffered from this lack of participation?  

   The activities team has expressed repeatedly that small clubs have such low membership that officers of these smaller clubs would rather participate with the bigger clubs than be a part of their own club. This concern has led to new rules and expectations for the clubs.  

   Contrary to popular belief, the big 4 clubs are just as affected by their members’ lack of participation just as much as the smaller clubs.  “You can have about 200 members and a solid membership,” says Honoria advisor Mr. Pimentel, “but not even a quarter of those members will show up to the weekly meeting.” 

    Interact advisor Ms. Chouza reveals “When I took over the club in 2021, everyone had either joined Honoria or Beta, leaving my club with only 5 members.” She says she and her officers have worked hard to bring up their members to bring back the club to what it was. 


What are ways we can improve student participation? 

    The event that brings the most student participation for many years has been the homecoming parade; however, there are attempts to make more events that encourage students to participate. Senior Jordany Flores highlights EHS’s Literary Café and their success and suggests similar activities to attract students and club members.  

   “I’ve noticed that events that are held in the theatre,” he said, “bring the most student participation, events like the Literary Café, Mr. Miami High, Beta’s Got Talent and Ms. Hispanidad. “ 

   Shanik Valdez suggests interactive activities like the Stings Festival where all the clubs create games for the students to play that motivate others to participate.  

   Activities directors, advisors, and club officers work really hard to host events, create traditions and bring up the spirit of the school, which makes Miami High stand out all over Dade County.    

   As Miami High alumna and SGA Advisor Ms. Puentes says, “You either graduated from Miami High or you wish you did.” 

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