Okay, But WHY Are We Such Dulldogs Though?

Let’s talk with more students and teachers and get to the bottom of this.


A photo of Pasco High’s marching band, 1946. Taken from @vintage_tricities on Instagram.

Hey bulldogs! It’s been a while since my “Bulldogs? More like Dulldogs.” article and I’ve been wanting to expand on it, but I’ve had a hard time writing. You’ll see why in a bit. But I really wanted to get this article out because I think it’s important to understand the deeper perspectives and causes for our terrible school spirit.  

 (Disclaimer: things said about the individuals mentioned in this article are not an attack on personality or character, but simply observations. It is all rumor and speculation. Whether they are true or not is not up to me.)

A couple of months ago, when my first article came out, Mr. Rust reached out to me an email to discuss the article. I asked him what he thought I should cover. “The first thing that comes up would be ‘selfishness’. Are people so selfish that they don’t want to support other people in things they don’t care about or understand? They won’t go to games because we aren’t winning, is that being selfish? Will students be the same way in a marriage? If they’re not ‘winning’, will they give up? “ and I agree with this a lot. I talked about this in another article, but people here are so self-absorbed that they can’t really care about anything or anyone else. Most people don’t even care for our exchange students (which Is crazy because it’s literally the coolest thing to ever happen at PHS) so how can we expect them to care about school spirit? If we’re not winning, they don’t care. And honestly, even when we do win, they still don’t care which is what makes the whole situation so frustrating. 

Mr. Rust also said “How much do teachers supporting school activities and showing school spirit come into play? Wouldn’t that be like peer pressure? (Teachers can do it, so you have to do it too!) Why do some teachers participate, and others never participate?” which is a very good point, because when’s the last time you’ve seen staff or teachers dress up? They’re part of this school as much as we are. Why don’t they ever go to games? It’s very easy to tell that most teachers here do not enjoy teaching here or in general and it is evident from their attitude and how they treat their students. If teachers don’t want to be here, then why would we? They literally get paid to come here and they STILL don’t want to be here. That type of thing changes the whole atmosphere and I think teachers need to be more aware of that. 

One last thing Mr. Rust talked about was “at-home” culture. “Culture… does the “home” culture make a difference in supporting school spirit. Does the family allow for time outside school to go back to school to support friends in sports and activities that the family doesn’t participate in. An example: if the brother plays football (or sister plays basketball), everyone goes to the football or basketball games. But if no one plays a sport, will mom or dad let their daughter or son go to any games that the sibling isn’t playing?”. I think this could easily be fixed if the whole community of Pasco was more invested in the school. I can’t really remember a time where parents were interested in the school in my time being here. Sure, they go to their kids’ games but anything else? Even the boosters are having a hard time finding parents to work concessions during games and just joining the club, period. One lady whose part of the boosters has been a member since her kid graduated in the 90s! It really shouldn’t be this hard to find parents when we have 2,000+ students at our school. That enough should tell you the lack of participation within the Pasco community itself. 

I also interviewed a group of students who are part of ASB and sports here at PHS. They wanted to keep their names anonymous, so I will be referring to them as student 1(S1), student 2(S2), student 3(S3) and student 4 (S4).  

Question 1: How do you feel about our school spirit as an athlete? 

S1: “I feel like certain students favor other sports. It’s not equal.” 

Me: “Like there’s not equal support?” 

S2: “Yes. Like they only go to one sport.” 

S1: “Like volleyball? Barely anyone went to their games” 

S2: “It was only football in the fall” 

S3: “Yeah. The students didn’t really like, care enough. Like they don’t have that enthusiasm for other sports other than football and dance.” 

S2: “And boys’ soccer. But even when we went to state, nobody cared.” 

S4: “When I went to the games, there would be people there, but it was mainly the families.” 

S2: “When I did girls’ soccer, the other schools had more of a student section than we did at our own home game. And they were cheering their team on. It was like, dude, if only we had something like that, like at home.” 

Question 2: Why do you feel like our students don’t want to do stuff like that? 

S2: “Cause they don’t give a sh*t about the school. Cause the school kinda sucks at times.”  

S3: “They just don’t care. They just do not care at all” 

S2: “They don’t care to pass. They don’t care about school, or our spirit.” 

Me: “I’ve said before that they’re selfish because they don’t care about anything else besides what’s going on in their life. Like ‘if I’m not involved in it, then I’m not checking anything out.’” 

S2: “Yeah, like they don’t even pass their classes, so I don’t expect them to go.” 

           S4 also mentioned something about how not going to school events affects their senior class. Things like dances are fundraisers for each class, so if no students go, then your graduating class won’t have the money for senior celebrations like senior breakfast, senior awards, parties, dinners, class t-shirts and whatnot. Mr. Lamb always sends out emails discussing your senior class financial situations, so this is not hidden news. We barely have enough for the senior breakfast, and that’s it. Class of 2024’s graduation is going to suck if y’all don’t start going to dances. Just saying!  

 Question 3: Okay, S4, you’re part of ASB and S2 you do soccer and track, right? How do you feel about doing all this stuff for the school and getting pretty much nothing in return? Like support, funds, recognition, and just getting sh*t on instead? 

S2: “The only acknowledgment we get is the ‘go dogs!’ at the assemblies. That sh*t is so lame. I’m sorry. Like say their names. Cross country went to state, and they didn’t get the little parade. If you make it to state, I think stuff like that should be standard.” 

Me: “So does that make you want to you, you know, continue to participate in school stuff?” 

S2: “No. It makes me hate it.” 

S4: “Like why are we gonna do all this stuff for people who aren’t gonna appreciate it? Like for any dances that we do, people are always complaining about it.” 

S3:” I’m not actually playing, but I am a manager. And I do hear a lot of people saying that [said sport] just sucks and there’s no point going if we’re just gonna lose. And at this point, it’s not even the students, It’s also the coaches.”  

S2 and S3 go on to explain that the way coaches coach impacts the way the team performs. Some of the coaches they’ve worked with don’t actually focus on the things they need to improve on, and instead focus on the same 5 drills every practice. 

Me: “So coaches just aren’t doing their job?” 

S2: “It’s just really repetitive. Like they’re lazy.” 

Me: “They’re doing their job, but just lazy?” 

S2: “It’s just like, new things would actually help us improve. We would get yelled at for not being focused, but we were doing the same drill every day. It gets boring and you get tired after a while.” 

Me: “So coaches don’t really listen to their players? Like taking suggestions and stuff?” 

All students: “Yeah.” 

S2: “Coaches are definitely to blame for certain sports.” 

*Very strong nods of agreement around the room* 

They all go on to talk about how certain coaches don’t show respect for their athletes or other members of the team like managers. There’s a line between constructive criticism and being straight up rude and some coaches tend to step wayyy over that line. Some cuss at their kids, make rude comments, and genuinely show no care for the athletes. They very rarely make positive and motivational comments. You can tell that some are only there for the extra check and nothing else. 

Me: “Anything else you’d like to add?” 

S4: “The only thing we’re good at is being respectful. That’s the one good thing.” (but that’s because a group of very certain, specific, particular people *COUGH* admin *COUGH* don’t let us trash talk other teams, yet allow the other teams to talk smack to us but that’s something for another story).

 And that was the end of the interview. It’s very clear that there are certain things that we all agree on when it  comes to this school. But one thing I really wanted to touch on was the coaches. I don’t play any sports, so I have no idea what really goes on, but I have heard from multiple sources (outside the ones I interviewed) that the coaches really don’t care at all. As mentioned earlier, they only care for the extra paycheck. I personally feel like if I was a coach, seeing all these losing streaks would make me want to go back and look at what we’re doing wrong as a team. What we need to work on, things we did good and come up with new strategies and the things I’m doing wrong as a coach. Do I need to push them more? Be more encouraging? Be brutally honest with them?  If we’re losing that much, then obviously we’re doing something wrong. Whether that’s with the athletes or the coaches, I don’t know. But a team can only be as good as their coach.  

I wanted to add my personal thoughts as well. Pasco High just has a bad reputation, period. It’s hard to be proud of a school that’s constantly being called ghetto, trashy, a poverty school, a crime school, this and that and constantly being told we suck at sports and academics. It’s not just the other schools that say it, there are grown adults that also bag and trash on PHS. How can we be proud of a school that the entirety of Tri-Cities makes fun of? If you asked anyone what they thought of Pasco High, one of those things listed above would be the first thing out of their mouth. But I don’t think we can blame it on the students. 

 Pasco High is well known for its diversity, with most of the population being POC (people of color) and majority being Mexican/Hispanic (which might honestly be the reason we get called such terrible things, but we can cover that another time). Most students here have family or parents that are immigrants and end up being 1st gen children (being the first person out of your family to be born in the U.S.) and nobody really talks about how hard that can be. When teachers here talk about how “lazy” students can be, they don’t consider their home life. What if they have to miss school so they can work and provide for their families? What if they have to take care of their parents? Maybe they’re sick or disabled, and that’s the reason they have to be at home all the time. What if they have to take care of their siblings? Or their parents aren’t even in the U.S. with them? My point is, students here at Pasco High live a harder life than you think. It’s hard to be in a situation like that and just go to school. To their parents, that student is all they have so they depend on them for everything. If they have little siblings, they wouldn’t be able to understand the gravity of the situation, which puts the student in a tough position. Even I have to deal with things like these at home and it can be really hard to balance school and your home life. So when push comes to shove, you have to look at what’s more important, and they definitely aren’t choosing school. For some kids, their home life is a life-or-death situation. You can’t do all of that and just come to school all happy and dandy. It’s traumatizing. All of this continues into a vicious cycle back to school. Students are more focused on home life, it leaves them no time to study or do homework, they fail, they give up and it starts again. If they’re an athlete, this disqualifies them from participating in sports and who knows if one of our best athletes is hiding behind bad grades?  It’s a difficult issue to navigate. 

Besides the sociological aspects of it, we can look at the physical too. Pasco High is one of the oldest, if not THEE oldest school in Tri-Cities and you can definitely see it… everywhere. It’s probably the only high school in Tri-Cities that hasn’t been remodeled in the last 10 years (besides Chiawana, but it just got built 13 years ago). Even middle schools like Stevens got remodeled during the pandemic and brand-new Rey Reynolds Middle School was built during that time too. The last time we had a renovation was in 2005, but that was when they added the student mall, which was literally 18 years ago. There are parts of the school that are dusty and falling apart and the dinginess really adds to the depressing atmosphere. The bathrooms are just… don’t even get me started because I will cry. Some decorative aspects of the school are super outdated and it really shows the true age of the school. Long story short, we are in desperate need of renovation. It would definitely make the air a lot fresher.  

In the long run, the chances of Pasco High getting back to the way it was are very low. There are so many factors that go into it and they’re so deeply rooted in the community that we don’t have the power to change anything as students. Believe me, I’ve tried and like I said earlier, we just get sh*t on. This is the reason why the article was so difficult for me to write. All of this makes me feel helpless and sad and I want to do something about it, but the little pep assemblies we do can’t fix these issues. With the new high schools coming in the next 10 years, coaches retiring, and the new announcement of summer school not continuing (so many students here need summer school to graduate but like I always say: that’s a topic for another time), I can’t see this school surviving much longer. I hold out hope that maybe after I graduate, it will get better. but who knows? I just try to do what I can for now.