Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

We are desensitized 

A community is about everyone.

Jun 8, 2023

There are only two things that I know are good: Saying hello and smiling—actions I don’t always do well. 

The Strath Haven student council election season comes with promises of more inclusivity, more diversity, and in general—more change. 

I’m excited that so many students want to improve Strath Haven’s community. Inspired even. 

But what good are promises of change if we’re unsure what needs changing? What good is one’s campaign if their success is determined by how many friends they have? 

I think our school as a whole should reevaluate what a community means. 

Two Strath Haven students have died in the last four years. The district administration responded to the death of Zykee Carmichael with an email. 

My point is that tragedy is apparent, but recognition of it is not. 

The administration’s brief response to Carmichael’ss death reflects the desensitization of everyone at Strath Haven. 

I think that even within the microcosm of our school, we’ve seen and heard about so much tragedy. And with each consecutive painful event, we’ve become less caring and more prone to indifference. This desensitization is heightened by the constant flow of tragic events in the media.

If we don’t acknowledge this collective desensitization, only the closest friends of those suffering will experience grief and shock. If we don’t acknowledge the pain in our student body, our students will go on claiming to make Strath Haven a “better place”, which will only perpetuate a cycle of complacent optimism. 

We as a school cannot label ourselves as a “community” if we continue to overlook the fragments of students experiencing pain and instead spotlight the everlasting possibility of positive change. We cannot let prevalence be the reason why students are not properly recognized. 

Honestly, I don’t know the best course of action. But I think there’s power in student journalism. I think that student journalism differs from other journalism in that student stories are written not only for an audience but also for the people covered in the story. 

As a student journalist, I’ve constantly questioned the purpose of my work. 

Why am I writing if no one is reading? Why am I making a video if no one will watch? 

I’ve concluded that it’s okay if no one or only a few people read. Because even in simply putting someone else’s words on paper and sharing their story, there is a positive impact. If only one more person than none feels like they are heard, and that their perspective matters, it is worth it. 

But you don’t need a notebook and a pencil to be a storyteller-student journalist. All you need is to be willing to say hello and smile, ready to welcome someone else’s perspective. 

I think that’s the first step towards true change and a true community.

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Matthew Chen '23, Editor-in-Chief
Outside of reporting and photographing for the Panther Press, Matthew Chen enjoys learning lanugages, cutting hair, and guessing your astrological sign.

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