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Opinion: The value of being on Renaissance has decreased

Pictures of past Renaissance rallies. Credit: Natalie Smith (top left), Bethany Fankhauser (top right), Josh Ren (bottom left), Johnathan Carriger (bottom right)/The Foothill Dragon Press


Pictures of past Renaissance rallies. Credit: Natalie Smith (top left), Bethany Fankhauser (top right), Josh Ren (bottom left), Johnathan Carriger (bottom right)/The Foothill Dragon Press
Pictures of past Renaissance rallies. Credit: Natalie Smith (top left), Bethany Fankhauser (top right), Josh Ren (bottom left), &  Johnathan Carriger (bottom right)/The Foothill Dragon Press

When you do a good job, you are rewarded. When you don’t quite reach your goal, you are told to work harder.

Foothill rewards its students who reach a GPA of at least 3.0 by putting them on Renaissance, a national program that rewards students for their academic achievements. By being a part of Renaissance, students get Ren cards, which allows students to have a “Do Over” on an assignment, a front of the line pass for lunch, an early release from class, an “Oops” pass, and a late assignment pass. The amount of “Oops” and late assignments passes vary with which level of Renaissance you have reached, which is determined by your GPA. However, you can only use these passes if your teacher accepts your Ren card, which vary from teacher to teacher.

Renaissance is used to not only reward students for reaching and going beyond a 3.0 GPA, but to also encourage students who did not quite make the goal to work harder in boosting their grades.

Other incentives that come with being on Renaissance are Ren Fridays- if you wear your Ren shirt, you get food on the stage. There are also Ren rallies, in which you receive your Ren shirt, get free food, and play on blow-up obstacle courses.

Needless to say, one of the main reasons that these events were so much fun was because we earned them by working hard in class.

This year, however, Renaissance has changed. You still get a Ren card if you have made it onto Renaissance, but the aforementioned events are different.

On Fridays, instead of wearing your Ren shirt to get free food or a prize on the stage, you now just need to dress in a specific theme, whether it be the color red, a “wacky” theme, or anything else along those lines. This change makes a little bit of sense, because Foothill was not able to fundraise enough money the first semester of this year, and therefore there were no Ren shirts this first semester. Though there is still the occasional Ren Friday, the ‘Fun Fridays’ are seeming to be more predominate.

Now, the Ren rally is being changed. This year, instead of the usual Renaissance rally taking place at Foothill, ASB plans on taking all of the Foothill students on a walking field trip to Buena High School, and while we are there, there will be a motivational speaking, dance group Happiness is NOW to present to students.

Already, this new Ren Rally is getting negative reactions, which is understandable.

It is unrealistic to walk all Foothill students (with the exception of the few who will be staying behind), and expect that there will not be any problems. There will be too many students for the 40 parent volunteers to keep track of, and by walking over 1,000 students the mile between Foothill and Buena, of course there are going to be traffic problems.

Having a rally that is meant to motivate Foothill students at a different school is ironic to say the least. Why should a Foothill student feel motivated with Foothill pride when we are not even in our own school? Also, the fact that it is felt that we should have a motivational speaker speak to the students already on Renaissance is almost a slap in the face, as if we are being told “Good job, but still not good enough.”

Renaissance should be rewarding the students for their achievements, not trying to tell those who already work hard to work harder to achieve something they already have achieved.

The new Renaissance rally is impractical, and does not fulfill its purpose of rewarding students, but instead tries to “motivate” them.

The value of Renaissance this year has decreased. Renaissance celebrated the academic achievements of students on the program, while simultaneously motivating the students not on Renaissance with incentives that they could be getting, if they improve their grades. Students can’t feel motivated to receive incentives when they get on Renaissance if they are already receiving them.

The Renaissance of today is no longer the one we know, and is no longer the one we strive to be a part of.

What do you think?
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Comments (13)

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  • A

    ANONMar 21, 2014 at 11:42 am

    This has nothing to do with fundraising! It is not because we didn’t fundraiser enough. In fact, the new rally is going to cost MORE than the previous rally! We are paying Happiness Now $750 to “motivate” us.

    • C

      Carson GravesMar 23, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Anon- Yes, we are paying $750 to see a world-class speaking/dance group, you got that part right. But if you dug a little deeper into your facts, you would find that Foothill secured a large discount and is splitting the cost in half with Buena, since they are having a very similar rally right after ours.
      Also, the usual “carnival type rally” costs over $2,ooo, so I don’t know where you came up with the idea that the new rally will cost “MORE than the previous rally”. If you would like to look at the current ASB budget and past years’ budgets, I would be more than happy to provide them for you.

  • B

    Blake SilvaMar 19, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Although many people have already commented, and I agree completely with the entirety of what Carson said, I want to add a few of my own thoughts to this. I would like to point out that you said, “There are also Ren rallies, in which you receive your Ren shirt, get free food, and play on blow-up obstacle courses” and the problem with that, is that those are not Renaissance rallies. That, to be frank, is a carnival. That being said, the discontent coming from a younger demographic is not astounding. It is a great thing to have fun at the rallies we have put on, don’t get me wrong. However, as a senior at Foothill, with nearly 8 semesters of Renaissance under my belt, I can say (with experience) we need this rally. You mentioned a lack of recognition, and inferred that all Renaissance does, to this day, is tell the student body they are simply not working hard enough. I’m telling you, that is not fair to imply or generalize. Yes, I respect your opinion as a student at this school, but I have to agree with Carson’s statement about you being a sophomore, and reinforce: it is not a credible position of offense on your part to bash a program you’re still dipping your toes into. Happiness Now is a great group, and I have seen them before; they are inspirational speakers, yes, but this is meant to encourage and does. Lastly, I would just like to mention, this rally is going to be full of recognition, adding more and more to the true idea of Renaissance and contributing more than the carnivals ever have to the encouragement of students achieving greatness on our campus. To be hypothetical, if a student were to say our new revision of the rally was improbable and seemingly unsuccessful, I would tell them to think about what would happen to their grade point average given a circumstance void of encouragement and flourishing morale.

    I hope the rally changes your mind about this topic, and that the day makes you feel special; if you are on Renaissance, you deserve to feel as such.

  • T

    That sucks.Mar 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Darn, those changes really suck. Foothill has definitely changed quite a bit since I have attended. Some are good, but some just really suck. It used to be that for the giant renaissance rally we would go to the park and all of the activities would be there. Then they changed it to just at Foothill. Which was fine.
    I think I would purposely op out of that new rally idea because if my grades are good enough to be on renaissance, why would I want to listen to motivational speakers at Buena? I can understand that the budget is definitely a factor but I think Foothill REN Rallys should be held AT Foothill.

  • M

    McPhersonMar 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

    When I was reading this article I must confess that I did agree with the author Riley Knouse, mostly because I didn’t have all the facts being an alum. I did however know that of the school was going to be walking from FTHS to BHS there would definitely be more help than parents. Did you guys honestly believe that the school would be that careless with your safety? I also knew that ASB was not getting the funding that they needed to give you the Ren Rally that you have known and loved. I know that I loved them when I was a student. You have no one but yourselves to blame for them being changed. If you really loved the Ren Rally’s you would have sold at least one of the magazines or coupon books in my day. I made a point to sell at least one other than the one to my parents. All the students should sell one. If you want the “old” Ren Rally’s back participate in the fundrasers.
    Other than this little part I had no other information to go on. I started to read the comments to see what people have said. Low and behold Carson Graves’s comment was first. Carson Graves is on ASB their common holds a little more weight in my opinion. The “new” Ren Rally sounds like a lot of fun. I would suggest that you keep an open mind for this since ASB really does want to give the students a great time. They just need more money which the students provide.

  • J 15, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Well…once upon a time, there was no such thing as a Renaissance program. We earned good grades because that was expected from a student. Whee hoo…I got a report card, a little praise from the parents and did not get grounded or put on restriction for doing poorly. School was considered my job and good grades were my way of earning respect and new freedoms as a teenager. If I wanted t-shirts or food treats or fun activities, I earned the money myself to buy those things. I didn’t expect to be rewarded by anyone except my parents and maybe by earning college entrance and a scholarship or two after I graduated – that’s delayed gratification! Oh…and the only other reward…was a sense of pride in a job well-done. Let’s show a little gratitude, maybe?

  • S

    SeniorMar 14, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    People also don’t seem to realize that the Happiness is Now rally IS about recognition of both Renaissance AND non-Renaissance students, just in different ways. Perhaps it’s ASB’s fault for not explaining this new rally clear enough, but I don’t inderstand why people are saying we should “go back to Renaissance’s original roots” when we haven’t even experienced this new type of rally yet. (And props to Carson for clarifying misconceptions.) I don’t see how “the value for Renaissance has decreased.” The criteria for making Renaissamce has not changed (3,0 GPA at each quarter or a .5 GPA imcrease from the previous quarter), we still get food, we still get shirts, we still get Ren Cards. The only difference is that we don’t get the bounce houses.

    This new rally is an experiment, because we have had the same type of Ren Rallies for sich a long time now. I can promise you that if this rally doesnt go as well as ASB might hope, then most likely the old Ren Rallies (carnivals, really) will stay. But I urge everyone to give this new rally a chance!

  • V

    VictoriaMar 14, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Although I understand that people don’t like change, as a non-ASB senior, who has been on renaissance all 4 years, I can say that the program hasn’t changed as much as the budget has. ASB is doing the best they can under the circumstances- may I remind students that we had a chance to increase said budget by selling magazines. The only real difference is that there aren’t any bounce houses at the rally, barely anyone used them anyways. We still have food, we still have music, we still have a rally. I don’t see why they are complaining. It’s better than nothing.

    Furthermore the new rally as Carson mentioned already has many misunderstandings. Once again, why are we complaining? We get to miss class, we have a new little walk, we get FOOD. Honestly guys, a little optimism and appreciation goes a long way.

  • M

    Michael C. SanchezMar 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    You know what. I agree on all what you have said here. You’re right, Renaissance is changing so badly now. I think we should tell the ASB that Renassiance has to go back to it’s original roots now.

    • E

      ethan tanMar 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Micheal you’re a freshman, you don’t even know what renaissance is.

  • M

    Mario S.Mar 13, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I really do agree with the entirety of this article. I’m a junior, and I’ve been on Renaissance almost every semester since Freshman year, but this year I feel like it doesn’t matter anymore. We aren’t doing the usual fun events which I looked forward to a lot the past years, but going to another school to listen to a motivational speaker really does sound quite boring. While the intent is for us to follow our dreams, most students will still see this as a “good job, but do better” event rather than a “Awesome job, have fun!” event. Just my two cents.

  • C

    Carson GravesMar 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Hey there, I understand this is an opinion piece and of course, you are entitled to yours; but let me just iron out a few of the many wrinkles not only in your argument.
    1) According to your bio, you are a Sophomore, meaning you just attained Renaissance status for your 3rd semester (presumably), with this being said do you really think that this is enough familiarization with Renaissance to justify this roast against it? In the grand scheme of things Renaissance has hardly changed over the years.
    2) One of your main contentions within this article is that Spirit Fridays are replacing Ren Fridays. In fact ASB maintained the same amount of Renaissance Fridays as last year (one every other week when you subtract all of the fridays that ASB is limited from, such as testing days and dead weeks) and this year we decided to do something extra to unite the school (Spirit Fridays) whether you are on Renaissance or not, for the remaining Fridays. As a result there are MORE days to celebrate academic achievements and school spirit.
    3) Food. Well, as I hope you know there are very strict federal and state guidelines relating to food on school campuses, and since our District is so devoted to healthy school, VUSD has even more stringent guidelines. When you also consider that the Cafeteria is considered a separate business on campus and ASB is not allowed to compete with the cafeteria, then this all makes it extremely difficult to serve food on campus. Don’t blame ASB, blame the government’s ridiculous unfounded belief that we should have a healthy student population (that was sarcasm). Even with all of this bureaucracy to wade through, ASB manages to serve (healthy) food whenever possible.
    4) The New Rally. The common misconception amongst students is that we are walking to Buena, listening to some lame motivational speaker, then walking back… no, let me explain. We are walking to BHS along two different routes which have been coordinated and approved by the Ventura Police Department, VUSD, and other agencies. Not only will there be “40 parent volunteers” but also numerous police officers to direct/divert traffic and to control the busy intersections near campus. Trust me, many precautions have been taken to ensure none of these “problems” that you seem so sure of. Once we get to BHS the interactive dance group Happiness is Now will be performing. In case you could not infer, the group’s main message is to pursue your dreams regardless of the direction that society tries to turn you. As you may have guessed, their dream is dance, and they’re good at it; I have seen them twice. After they perform and speak, they invite everyone down, including the teachers, to learn the dance for ourselves, and its fun and hilarious, trust me. Second the whole point of Renaissance is to recognize and reward students, and of course we will have this aspect also. So, after the rally, (which takes place during one of Buena’s periods, to minimize contact and disturbances with their students, we will quickly walk back with the same help from the police officers, where there WILL BE FOOD ON CAMPUS FOR STUDENTS. (yes you heard me right).
    Hope to see you at the remaining three RENAISSANCE (not spirit) FRIDAYS wearing your brand new spiffy SHIRTS and eating your free FOOD this semester!
    One of our main goals this year is to increase transparency between ASB and the school. I apologize for our apparent lack of this.
    If you have any questions I urge you to ask! (D108)
    -Your ASB President

  • J

    JessMar 7, 2014 at 9:11 am


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Opinion: The value of being on Renaissance has decreased