We gotta have faith

Maybe it’s too early to say this, but I’m totally sick of hearing about the cheating scandal. This is a great school, and it’s going to take a lot more than a few morally lacking 10th graders to change that.

I know the whole thing was shocking and upsetting. Still, everyone needs to get over it. Now.
If you find cheating morally repugnant, then don’t be friends with cheaters. I believe that the majority of the students here are honest, and if that’s not true, then I can at least say that my friends are honest people.

As for the cheaters who are still here, and even the ones who have left, they probably feel bad about what they’ve done: after all, they did undermine the trust in the community. If they don’t feel bad about what they’ve done, then there’s no point in wasting our energy trying to punish them more.

Some people think that standards in the community went down after the cheating incident, but standards only go down if we let them. Cheaters do have the power to pollute our school, but only if we give it to them.

I see this school as a beautiful garden. Most of the students are earthworms who work hard, nourishing and being nourished by the healthful soil and contributing diligently to the overall health of the garden.

We’ve discovered some crafty aphids taking its nourishment without giving back to the little self-contained ecosystem.

The good news is that this infestation was caught and at least partially eliminated. However, the fact of the matter is this: no matter how much poison you douse on your plants, there will always be aphids. We just have to take comfort in the fact that most aphids go to sleep knowing that they’re parasites.

As for how to treat the unpunished members of the sophomore class, I think math teacher Michael Mori handled the cheating incident with the utmost grace. Mori told his sophomores that he still trusted them, that he didn’t think they were all bad kids. And he’s right. If he isn’t right, what difference does it make? The people cheaters hurt the most are themselves.

Mori recognized that distrust wasn’t going to get anyone anywhere. I think the rest of us, like Mori, should have a little faith.

The spirit of our community is believing in the potential of our students. When I came to family visiting day as an eighth grader, what impressed me most about this school was that, out of all the high schools I visited, this was the only one where nobody talked about what the school wasn’t. They only talked about what it was. There was so much positive energy, so much belief in what Harvard-Westlake was and what it could be.

Let’s try to regain that positive outlook. Have a little faith. Let’s give sophomores, and all students, the benefit of the doubt. We don’t have to forget, but let’s forgive.

Despite the ugliness that’s been uncovered, the beauty of the garden that is this school has in no way diminished for me because my love for the school never had anything to do with the behavior of other people.

Am I angry at the cheaters? Sure. But like I said, it doesn’t affect my love for this school because to paraphrase Charlie Kaufman, I own that love. And nobody can take it away.