What motivates a student to succeed? Grades? The future? College? It all depends on the person. What motivates the students in this year’s freshman class, the class of 2020? Many freshmen profess that they are lethargic and unmotivated.  Let’s investigate the characterization.

I first noticed that members of the freshman class seemed to lack school spirit within the first few weeks of school when student council elections took place. Not a single freshman ran for the position of ninth grade representative until, at the very last minute, the two newest students volunteered for the position. I noticed it again in October, when no one dressed up at school for Halloween. And after the fall interim week, less than a quarter of the freshman class responded to a trip survey sent out by the school.

After observing these signs of lassitude, I started to wonder how many of the freshmen read the emails sent out to by the school about events, the daily schedule, and Friday explorations. The answer to my question was unsatisfying to me. Apparently, not even half of the class reads or even glances at those emails before deleting them.

Not only does the freshman class seem to be slacking in school spirit; we seem to be slacking in our class participation, too. Among the ten to fifteen students in each class, only four or five regularly raise their hands to make respectful and thoughtful points that contribute to the class discussions. And during tutorials, the freshman area is full; well, as full as it can be with only twenty-two people in the entire grade.

The one thing that the class of 2020 does seem to be passionate about is sports. During volleyball and basketball seasons, there are always people missing from classes, and they eventually end up being confused in subsequent classes because they didn’t get the notes.

The general lack of motivation has become a bit of a joke within the class. Almost all of the freshmen have been together at The Gregory School for about three years, with very few additions. Perhaps they are getting bored of each other? Or perhaps it is just a natural attitude that teenagers have regarding school? The need to rebel and act out?

Of course, this characterization of the class is a generalization, and there are a few ambitious outliers who will one day make us all proud to have been associated with them.

In the meantime, the first step toward improving our collective attitude is acknowledging that we need to change.