The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Sharing the Spotlight

The arts deserve recognition too
design by Greta Grist
Greta Grist
design by Greta Grist

It’s no secret that American media places athletics on a pedestal. Cliché teen movies cast jocks as heroes, professional athletes are paid billions each year and an estimated 123 million Americans watched the Super Bowl last February. As Americans, we are surrounded by sports. 

And at Shawnee Mission Northwest, it’s no different. Students hear athletic updates in the morning announcements, participate in sports send-offs and rally in the gym to celebrate the boys basketball team winning state. 

But are the achievements of the arts being overshadowed by athletics? 

At Northwest, sports disproportionately receive the majority of the spotlight while groups like theatre, choir, yearbook, band and orchestra receive little to no recognition for their equally — if not more — impressive achievements. This should change. The arts deserve to be recognized as much as sports. 

It would be logical to assume that there aren’t many arts accomplishments because they aren’t talked about often, but that isn’t true. 

Thespian Troupe 888 was recently awarded four nominations by the Blue Star program, and the Robotics Club competed in Worlds against approximately 600 other teams. The Lair, Northwest’s yearbook, won first place in a national best of show contest and the Northwest Passage placed fourth. Recently, both orchestra and choir received the highest possible scores in the KSHSAA state large ensemble contests. The woods program has also seen recent success with one student winning the cabinet making SkillsUSA State Competition, and another winning the SkillsUSA R&D Overall Award for a waterfall desk — one which was also named the best woods project in the Shawnee Mission district.

While it is partially up to student media and teacher sponsors to make achievements of the arts known, it’s not exclusively their job. Administrators often attend sports games, so they are aware of athletic achievements and can then share their winnings with the rest of the school through things like morning announcements. 

Occasionally, an arts group may receive a shout-out on the morning announcements for a day or may be given a minute or two to be featured in one of Northwest’s fall/spring sports pep rallies. 

This is a far cry from the attention and emphasis placed upon athletics. 

Morning announcements frequently encourage students to go support sports teams. Northwest hosts spring/fall sports pep rallies that interrupt Seminar — an hour many students use to catch up on homework or work on things like art projects, theatre sets or yearbook interviews. The basketball and wrestling teams were given state send-offs that stopped class as they paraded around Northwest’s halls. For boys basketball’s state championship in Wichita, Northwest ordered Spirit Busses for students to ride on and miss school. When the boys basketball team won state, there was a pep rally that took up Seminar and was not optional. 

Students do deserve to be recognised for their athletic achievements, yet it seems to be at the cost of appreciation for the arts. 

  Of course, there will be some students disinterested in the arts. But, similarly, there are students equally uninterested in hearing about sports, yet there are still sports assemblies that they are required to attend. 

Currently, building administration as well as the Athletic Director try to cover both sports and arts. Hiring an Arts Director would provide a platform for the arts to shine. 

Northwest should either stop giving extra attention to sports, give the same extra attention to the arts or hire an Arts Director to deal with publicity. 

If they don’t, it perpetuates the cycle of arts students feeling under-appreciated and ignored by Northwest, while athletes are given special time to display their talents. 

Don’t the arts deserve to be appreciated, too?

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About the Contributor
Greta Grist
Greta Grist, Designer
Hello, I’m Greta Grist! I'm a designer for the Northwest Passage. Outside of school, I play acoustic, electric and bass guitar. My favorite artist is Phoebe Bridgers and my favorite genre of music is rock. I write music in my spare time and find inspiration from the queen herself, Taylor Swift. When “Nothing New” by Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers came out, I couldn’t function properly for at least two days. I joined journalism to explore my skills in photography but ended up finding a passion for design. I'm excited to be in newspaper so I can enhance my design and photography abilities and meet new people.

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