School's Participation Day unifying event

To an optimistic onlooker, the sea of paint, glitter, fabric, masks and banners, coupled with the enthusiastic chanting and flashes of colourful participants might seem like something out of a Lewis Carroll novel.

Zooming in on the scene, one can in fact witness the enthusiasm, encouragement, determination, spirit and passion which make this day a fun-filled Friday for everyone involved.

Then we have the pessimistic extremists, who view the scene as a raucous, discordant battlefield of hatred, where segregation and disrespectful teenagers are rife and have no appreciation for unification or school spirit.

This, to the pessimists' trained eye, appears to be a snapshot of an anarchic Stephen King novel.

Taking a pessimistic view on this day, one could argue that such rivalry between pupils causes segregation or even a lack of patriotism and draws away from the participation aspect of the day.

In such modern times, isn't New Zealand striving for just the opposite: unification?Many people believe that sports day is a representation of a larger segregated New Zealand. Different houses are encouraged to face off in a competitive environment, which can often cause tension among pupils.

This is, of course, going to capture the attention of parents across New Zealand.

And you could argue that a ''normal'', seemingly friendly sports day could sow the seeds of segregation for future New Zealanders, who may take sexist segregation, occupational segregation or even racial segregation for granted.

But then again, isn't this standpoint a little extreme?

This isn't a political debate about the future of our country. Instead, it's an argument that belongs at the breakfast table.

We believe that sports day, or in our case, Participation Day, is something that not only unifies pupils, but creates a sense of pride and encourages ambition.

A day that is simply dedicated to participation and friendly competition is the perfect way to unite pupils, by giving them a common goal.

We're sure we speak for Kiwi schools nationally when we say house points are not always the most important thing.

Of course, friendly competition gives the pupils drive, and encourages future ambition.

Isn't that what New Zealand needs?

Bright and driven young leaders?In a world that is figuratively bound by bubble wrap, isn't it time we let youngsters be youngsters, and understand that sports days make an integrated school community?After all, when year 13 pupils depart school, they often reminisce on Participation Day and how it is one of their most treasured memories.

From the wild chanting, to three-legged races, to a whole school re-enactment of the Cha Cha Slide, Wakatipu High School's Participation Day is certainly not replicated anywhere else.

 


• By Victoria Boult and Sophie Lake, Year 11, Wakatipu High School