Monday, November 7, 2011

Voice of the Saints--How the NDP faculty can come to the Dog Pound's rescue

   The byline of this article might say Tyler Daswick, but I am just an ambassador. It is important that you understand this: this article is representative of everyone at Notre Dame. This is not an According to Dazz, this is the Voice of the Saints.
   The administration has graciously said time and again that if the students want to see something done differently at NDP (Within reason, of course. Sorry, but something tells me that the uniform is here to stay), they should come talk to them about it and make themselves heard. Well, here we are.
   Parents are great and all, but sometimes you wish they could just call the spaceship back and return to whatever planet they came from where they learned how to be so . . . so darn parent-y (yeah, we are making up words now, we are so professional). The issue that arises from this phenomenon is simple: the varsity football playoff game is on Thursday evening instead of Friday evening, and this means that a lot of folks are understandably putting the hammer down and declining any prospects of students going to the game on a school night. Having the game down in Tucson does little to help matters.
  The location of the game all but guarantees a late return home for anyone who attends, and obviously we are not going to change our parents’ views on this situation or change the time/place of the game. The last thing for us to do is to turn to NDP for help. We students want to go to the game, we want to support our team, and we want to support Coach Bemis, and in order to do this in a way that will be satisfactory to all parties involved, we need Notre Dame to consider having some flexibility with the Friday schedule.
   Here are the possibilities, some are extreme and some are not, but all we ask is that you hear us out and at the very least consider these possibilities.

1.       The Extreme Option—Cancel Classes on Friday
Hold on there before you have a heart attack, we would have classes another day instead. To be specific, April 9th could be a fine possibility if Principal Gonsalves would be willing to give up his “Principal’s Holiday” to give students Veteran’s Day off. Besides, most public schools have Friday off anyway (classic case of, “come on, all the cool kids are doing it!”). I am not sure what activities one David Gonsalves devotes to his special holiday, but with any luck he can find time to do those things on Veteran’s Day. It is an extreme option for sure, but given the proper attention, this could be a legitimate solution so long as the schedule holds up.

P.S. Is it weird if I picture Mr. Gonsalves riding around on a jet-ski in the middle of a lake on Principal’s Holiday? We should hold a contest to see who can invent the most probable/outlandish activity our fearless leader might partake in on his post-Easter Monday. Maybe a prize for the winner . . .

2.      The Middle of the Road—A Late Start on Friday
This one is not so bad, right? All it would take is to simply draw up a new schedule to push the hours back a little. There are two things you could do with this. The first option would be to simply push school back as a whole. So for example, start at 9:00 and have dismissal at 3:50. The problem that might arise there is the conflicts that would emerge with sports teams and practice schedules, so that would need to be addressed. However, another option would be to hold a “reverse minimum day.” Instead of cutting off the 80 minutes from the end of the day, why not shave them off the front? School would begin at 9:00 and would end at the regular 2:30. No hassle. No mess. Easy. If you have some concerns about losing those 80 minutes of quality class-time, perhaps there is another minimum day that could be inflated to a full schedule.
   This option looks to be the most exciting, by far. Parents would rest easy knowing that their child would still be able to perform at their very best the next day, students would appreciate the hassle-free morning, and all teachers would be missing are eight short minutes from each period. Did I just hear a vault door opening? Because this sounds like money in the bank. More cheesy lines to follow . . .

3.      The Passive Approach—Excused Tardies on Friday
This solution is to address those parents that are more concerned about the prospect of having their sluggish son or daughter facing some disciplinary consequences for playing up the whole slow-and-steady act in the morning. Here is how this can be avoided: at the game on Thursday, have some sort of “bouncer” present to check off students’ names as they enter the game (Sister Yolanda seems like a worthy candidate, for whatever reason) Thursday, and then these students will all have the option to have an excused tardy the following day. Now relax, no one wants to see kids rolling in during E period and flashing some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card like they are some VIP. What we can do instead is have the policy that if you attend the game, you will have an excused tardy on Friday up until C period (about 9:00). After that time, you are late and that is that, but if you attend the game you will be excused if you arrive “on time”. Thanks to our bouncer, the system cannot be exploited, and no one will take advantage of a supposed free tardy. The C period deadline works well because students will only be missing a maximum of two classes, and are also guaranteed to see the Veteran’s Day speaker. Parents and students are happy because no one is in trouble, and administration will be happy with the fool-proof system. A win-win if I ever saw one.

   Anyone who was at the game last Friday will tell you that the Dog Pound made a difference, just as they have been doing all year. But right now, that intense spirit is at risk of seeing some huge losses due to a simple scheduling conflict. We, the students of Notre Dame, are telling the administration that we want to be there. We went to go down to Tucson and support our Saints. We are doing it for the team, we are doing it for Coach Bemis, and we are doing it to keep a sense of spirit alive, one that has not been matched by any previous year at NDP. The Dog Pound is stronger than ever, and if we can come to a compromise with this football game, you can be certain that the showing will be felt by our fans, the players, and the opposing crowd as well.
   Our school feels like its writing the script right now to a Hollywood movie, and this would just be another scene to scribble in—how the Dog Pound, once struggling to gain support, is now fighting for the chance to go to a football game. The team needs us, our coach needs us, and Notre Dame needs us.
   It is time for the hunt to begin again; all we need now is for someone to sound the horn.

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