Yet another year of Inter-House competitions has started at Maru-a-Pula school. A lot of new faces, especially Form 1s, have adjusted to and are participating in this well established school tradition. Even with new students participating every year, the outcome of events never seems to change: from L House dominating the Swimming Galas, and blazing through the track and field events, as if it were the Olympics; to M House trailing behind by a considerable amount of points. However, some students feel that the “House Spirit” that usually accompanies this time of the year is slowly fading away.
One person whose beliefs are quite contrary to the feeling is Mr. Nkala, a Physical Education teacher at MaP. “The Inter-House competitions have always been there, since before I arrived and I think the participation is improving. So far this year, 129 athletes have won medals, as compared to the 69 that won last year.”
“The Swimming Gala was disappointing for a lot of people, because most races did not have enough swimmers and were usually won by default. I think that Galas should be held on weekends; during the night, with flood lights and the promise of good food. No one wants to stay at school during the day longer than they are obliged to, and eliminating the learning atmosphere would encourage more participation,” said Mmathpelo Marumo, a Form 4 student. Flood lights have often been requested by students for various sports events but such amenities are hard to come by.
When speaking to another student, Irish Labane in Form 4, she explained why fewer students are participating in the Inter-House competitions, “Students in Form[s] 4 and 5 have bigger workloads and this leaves little time for other activities. Students in Forms 1, 2 and 3 see older students as role models and, therefore, they follow in their footsteps and are reluctant to participate when very few older students participate. I don’t think they really understand that we actually want to participate but we don’t have enough time.”
While the participation in the athletic events is deemed passable, the participation in the Inter-House Plays is quite substandard – and with good reason. Most students are not very comfortable with putting themselves out there and performing in an auditorium filled with people; and they would much rather fade into the background and watch the action from a distance. On the other hand, older students are compelled to direct the Inter-House Plays, because no one else is willing to take the initiative.
“Everyone is amped about Inter-House Plays and we just cannot wait to see what the other Houses have done,” remarked Kutlo Seene, a student participating in the Inter-House Plays.
While some students couldn’t care less about Inter-House competitions, some take them as seriously as any of their academic subjects. In all aspects of the Inter-House competitions, student participation could definitely use some improvement. As a long-standing MaP Tradition, the Inter-House competitions are important, because they bring the MaP community together and it also encourages a sense of team work and friendly competition amongst the students.