Opinion: We can do better.

Henri Robbins | Staff Writer 

Trash is left on the ground, tables and everywhere in between. Students eat in the large and small commons for an hour and a half during the school day.

Mason is a mess.

Now, that’s not a jab at administration. It isn’t meant to attack any teachers. It’s meant for the students, because the state of our school, and the state of our lunchrooms specifically, is a travesty. The lack of respect that is shown to the staff, the people who clean up, is nothing less than disappointing. 

Walk through the small commons after fifth bell, and you’ll be greeted with discarded trash, unidentifiable clumps that have been ground into the floor, and half-eaten meals that are far from any trash bins. You’ll see workers prying matted-down clumps of who-knows-what from the floor with a screwdriver. You’ll see the sixth bell study hall carefully sitting to avoid getting their shoes in whatever the last bell left. 

What we, the student body, do at lunch, affects other people. It makes their lives worse, and we don’t care, just because it makes our lives a tiny bit easier to leave our trash on the ground, because it elicits a small laugh to throw some of your lunch across the table. 

Entitlement is rampant in Mason because we don’t realize how much work goes into maintaining this school. We don’t see the custodians who work tirelessly to clean every step we take after we leave. We don’t see the hours of planning that go into every day of class and every practice. So many students in Mason have never had to think about it, so they never do. We’ve lived in a school where everything is handed to us, so we never questioned what brought the hands to us in the first place. 

With that, Mason is often seen as a bunch of spoiled, rich kids. We are seen as the highest on the hill, but shouldn’t we be more than that? Shouldn’t we show that we’re not just the perpetuation of years of stereotyping? Any efforts to that, any facades we might put on, are betrayed by that. Anything that we might do, really, is undermined by how we act in our own school. 

Sure, we win state championships, and sure, we have some of the highest scoring students in the nation, but the fact that we don’t even think that we owe respect to the very place that enables that, the fact that we waltz around, making the school our own personal landfill, and the people who work here our caretakers, that makes it all lose meaning. 

The things that people say about Mason aren’t arbitrary, they aren’t born from nothing. We prove them, not through our performance when eyes are on us, but by how we behave when we think they are not. 

The lack of cleanliness is something that we have all become used to, and we could all hope that someone else will take care of it, but why should that be the case when action can be made for oneself? It’s everyone’s duty to care for the school, so don’t simply shove it onto someone who’s not you. 

Photos by Tanner Pearson.