Pirate Pride

May 6, 2010
By , spokane, WA
Being a Pirate is nowhere near what it is like to be a Panther, a Tiger, a Titan, a Saxon. It’s completely different in every way. I’ve attended John R. Rogers High School since I was a freshman, as did my father and his whole side of the family. But throughout the years, I have known people who have attended other high schools, Mead, Lewis and Clark, University High, and Ferris. Through these people, and lengthy conversations with teachers, I have learned that it takes a tremendous amount to be a Pirate, and a proud one at that.

Rogers is located in the poorest zip code in the state of Washington. That right there makes Rogers different in itself. That single fact means that many of the students who attend Rogers come from impoverished families where their basic needs aren’t being met and where they possibly have no role model of a family member who has finished high school, creating children lost in the wind of high school. Leading to students who don’t care enough to try. Leading to students who just barely get by. Leading to tremendous discipline issues. Leading to students losing hope and dropping out because it’s just too hard. Some teachers even start to lose hope in helping the future of tomorrow. It’s all a chain reaction; one of a kind here at Rogers. You see it every day and the negative views coming from outside the Rogers community isn’t helping.

Out in society, people view Rogers as a thug, no good school, unless they’ve actually attended, taught or worked there. People believe it has gone downhill and this view very much affects what it is like to be a Pirate. It’s almost like society is trying to bring you down; all they can ever say about Rogers are bad things. But when we do do outstanding things, like raise more money than any other school for the Terri Kim Benefit, people still favor to remember the bad or just forget about us altogether. Media plays a big role in this. We hardly ever make the news. In the winter we had a spirit game, as did many other GSL schools. All games were highlighted in the newspaper but ours. “Why?” we asked. They couldn’t give a legitimate answer. The last time we were on the news was when we had a breakout of fights and a student was sent to the hospital. They played a video from a student’s cell phone for everyone in Spokane to see. This doesn’t help the view of Rogers. What school doesn’t have fights? It’s just because we’re Rogers and this is when we learn that the media only wants to attract more viewers. And this is when we learn that society needs help.

The news shouldn’t only cover topics that will attract more viewers. The news shouldn’t only be interested in their paychecks. The news is there to inform the public about important news in the area, that’s their job and that’s what they should do. A fight at a school is not all that important when there are bigger, more important issues going on in the community. Rogers got to pay the price once again for the media trying to attract viewers when that video was broadcasted city wide. Things will happen at Lewis and Clark or anywhere on the South Hill, like a lockdown, or even a fight, and the news won’t show anything about it - all to protect the image of the South Hill. But since Rogers is located in Hillyard, a place that is associated with being unsafe, the news broadcasters don’t think their negative news about Rogers will impact anything greatly. But that’s where they are wrong. Even though they cannot physically see the impact themselves, it is there.
Even when I meet new people from other schools, they ask where I go to school, I say “Rogers” and they respond “I’m sorry.” But why? When you tell someone at a different school or out in the city that you attend Rogers, their response is always “I’m sorry.” Why are you sorry? Are you sorry you were never able to have the experience of being a Pirate? Are you sorry you aren’t strong enough to be a Pirate? Not courageous enough? Not courageous enough to look Spokane in the eye and say “I am a Pirate and I love it!”? Not courageous enough to get involved with the community and try to better the Rogers name? Not courageous enough to make a change within Rogers? Not courageous enough to be different? That’s how I respond when someone tells me they’re sorry I had to be a Pirate. I then continue to explain to them why they have no reason to be sorry. We work hard for what feels like nothing sometimes, making being a proud Pirate difficult. This is why I choose to be involved. When you’re involved in clubs, such as DECA, leadership, and NHS, you get to feel recognition and praise unlike the average student, in school and throughout the community. Being involved lets you reach out and it opens your eyes, teaching you valuable life lessons along the way.

The thing I am most thankful for at school was the enormous push to do community service. After giving some of my time to the community, I absolutely fell in love. Fell in love with the Rogers community, in love with helping people, in love with life. Thanks to Rogers, I have found my passion – helping people. I have found what I want my purpose in life to be. Helping others and making them happy is what I want to do and it is what I love doing. This passion has caused me to want to make a difference and change the world. Human trafficking and hunger worldwide are a few things that really speak out to me and I want to aim for an end to them, to make the world an all-around better place. I don’t know what my purpose in life would be if it weren’t for Rogers.

I am a proud Pirate and I highly believe that being a Pirate can shape your character for the better. At Rogers, we are a family and the school is our home. Unlike other schools, the “new kids” at Rogers can find it really easy to make friends. Students reach out to others like something that’s never been heard of at some other schools. We’re a really friendly community at school and it is amazing. To be a Pirate doesn’t mean you are a gang banger or a drug dealer, not a low life or a failure. Being a Pirate means you are building character and it means you are growing up as the underdog – letting you look at life in a different light than those students who have everything. It allows you to actually see the world beyond yourself and what it is like, - no sheltering from the school, from the community, from anything. It allows you to be thankful and in return, generous. It makes you want to change the way people look at Rogers and the way people are so quick to judge. To be a Pirate means you get to experience your community like others don’t. With that, you learn to love the community, teaching you to not only love the perfect, to not only love supporting your school when you win every game of the football season, to not only love supporting your school when you’re not around students from other schools. You learn to love, and to love everything that comes out of life itself. Hearing “Oh it’s just Rogers” or “Oh, they just go to Rogers”, gives you the experience of knowing what it feels like to be looked down upon and judged – teaching the most important thing – to not ever judge unfairly or look down upon others just because they don’t have what you do…that right there is priceless.

All of this has prepared me for the future. Because I have attended Rogers, I have transformed into an all-around better person. Having to work for what you want and where you want to go with your life and not just getting spoon-fed everyday. I have learned how to interact with students and the people of Spokane. I have learned to be thankful for what comes my way. And most of all, I have learned not to judge. I know what it feels like and I know I would never want to make someone feel that way. This opens my eyes, and my dreams. The enormous push for community service at Rogers has caused a passion within me and everyday, I live with that dream in mind to get me where I want to go. I will graduate. I will attend a university. I will change the world. And when people ask where I attended high school, I will proudly say “John R Rogers, Home of the Pirates.” Just then, maybe people will start to change the way they look at Rogers. Maybe then, Rogers will be acceptable.

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