Tryouts and cuts – agony…or excitement?

When a student tries out for a program, such as a drama production or a sports team, they often have to go through a series of cuts that are made to determine who should be allowed into this program.  Some students feel that aspects of this program are unfair, while others feel that much of it is done in a way that gives all students an equal chance.

The adults who make the cuts say that there are always certain things that make them notice a student more, and this system is designed to be fair to everybody.  Regardless, there is some controversy over this process.

Many students at LCJSMS feel that the system of cuts in our school can sometimes be done unfairly.  They say that although some students might try just as hard as others, they are still getting cut because of small differences that in some cases, shouldn’t matter. 

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One eighth grader says that sometimes when students are auditioning for plays or musicals, one student might be just as good as another, but they might be cut because of small differences in the way they speak or look.  He thinks this is very unfair.

Eighth grade student I.T. says about the recent musical auditions, “I don’t think the process is fair because I took extra voice lessons to prepare for the audition as well as practicing the dance, and I felt really good about my audition.  As when some students auditioned on the spot without any preparation as a joke and got called back and I didn’t.”

Another 8th grade student plays on the girl’s basketball team here at LCJSMS.  To get on the team, players must go through tryouts and a series of cuts before the coach, Mr. Welsh, determines which players he wants on the team.  When the final team was made up for this season, several 7th grade girls were put on the team while many 8th grade girls were cut.

“Eighth graders should get a chance to play on the basketball team to prepare for the high school level,” the student said.  “We have a lot of good 7th graders based on ability, but there’s always next year for them to play here.” Several students share the opinion that the programs should allow for different students to be involved in different years.  For example, if several students are always cast as leading roles in drama productions, they should be cut from productions in the future to give other students a chance to experience it.

The teachers who make the cuts that determine these programs have slightly different opinions.  LCJSMS drama teacher Mr. Wells discussed how certain qualities, such as doing something unusual and creative in their audition, will make him notice a student more and will increase their chances of getting a callback or making the production.  He said that it is always best to make cuts that are best for the overall production to make the play or musical turn out to be the best it can be, and that sometimes his “favorites,” or students that he has cast in many productions before, just don’t fit in to any role for the specific production.  That helps to explain why they get cut. 

Mr. Kostibos, an 8th grade social studies teacher at LCJSMS, is a coach for sports teams at the high school.  He said that he has a rubric similar to what a teacher might use to grade a project and uses it to evaluate each student that tries out.  After he makes cuts, he talks to each individual student and tells them what they need to work on and what they can improve with, then encourages them to try out for the team again next year.

This system is similar to the one that a student described earlier about how each student should be told the specific reason they were cut.  Ms. Jurista, a guidance counselor at LCJSMS, says she has students come to her often that are upset about not making a drama production or a sports team.  She says that being cut from teams at this age can be good for their future because it teaches them how to cope with these feelings.  She says that since everyone will have to deal with this later in life, it is good to learn how to be able to handle it when you are younger.

LCJSMS Panther Pulse is a column written by students in the Digital Media program at Summit Middle School. 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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