It was simple, they said. A series of awards would be given to students who embodied the TIGER values. It would raise school spirit, they said. It would distinguish students as role models within their own grades, they said. It would be an opportunity to appreciate the under-appreciated.
Well, to some extent it did. From countless posters advertising the letter T to persistent reminders posted on Moodle, the culmination of the HSSC’s inexhaustible efforts led to a fiery debut for SIS’s Tiger Awards at the open meeting on November. 17 students were nominated and awarded the “trustworthy individuals” award at the scene. 14 students received certificates, and three students walked away with plaques, denoting multiple nominations of two or three.
The HSSC must have breathed a sigh of relief at the turnout. The idea seemed not only ambitious, but also well received by students. The plan was working. Or so it was, until the whole idea spiraled into oblivion. Come May, and the Tiger Awards are little more than the TIGERS posters that decorate the school hallways. April’s open meeting gave a total of two recipients of the “effective communicators” award – both of them limited to certificates.
It is important to acknowledge that the downfall of the TIGERS Awards doesn’t reflect entirely upon the HSSC; it reflects upon us, the student body. Our disinterest in the implication of these awards is what drove its reputability into the ground. How could we care about the event, when half of us did not even attend the open meetings wherein nominees were acknowledged? There is something inherently wrong about taking apart another “failed” school spirit campaign, and then blaming it on the HSSC. Invisible efforts are invisible only when its intended audience turns a blind eye.
At the same time, we must consider the possibility that the TIGERS awards rely on overly ambitious circumstances. The premises of the awards rely on blind hope that these awards will yield immediate respect for one’s peers. It is no secret that SIS could step up its game in school spirit. Empty KAIAC kickoffs and school dances do not come across as strange to many, and spirit days are surprisingly void of orange and black. With anonymous critique forms being treated as a joke, or being completely ignored, apathy is a seasoned patron of academics-harried SIS students.
“The TIGERS awards do not really have a presence within the school,” said Hayoon Song (10), who attended the open meeting in May. “No one remembers what it is about, other than that it is a joke, because it does not come up in everyday life or conversation.”
With less than two weeks of school left, wishing for immediate change may be a luxury we cannot afford. But it is important to note that the 2016-17 school year is the first year to award students based on the TIGERS values. Disinterest is a vice in the grounds of a school. But as a Korean proverb says, “the smaller, the shrewder.” The road has been considerably rocky for the TIGERS value awards. Here is to hoping that student participation will increase in the coming years. Here is to hoping that time will increase the TIGER awards’ influence on SIS.