Student Debate


Noelle Marroquin and Anna Armstrong

Don’t Dream Big, Do Big

By Noelle Marroquin

We’ve all seen it. We’ve all heard it. A classic case of “I’m going to do big things when I graduate high school.” Which is great, but what are you doing to get yourself there? The mentality that life will eventually work itself out for you with little to no effort on your behalf is one that plagues high schoolers everywhere, and it’s not necessarily their fault. From a young age children are told that they can be anything they want in life and to “dream big,” which is a great encouragement for kids at a young age but doesn’t lend them the same once they’re older.

In high school our concerns start to expand past simply getting through school. The rest of our lives awaits us after four short years, and in those years we’re meant to prepare ourselves for it. What we do and work for during high school will lend itself to our college acceptances, which to us is the most important thing we could possibly be working towards. What becomes a problem is kids who don’t apply themselves in and outside of class and think a college acceptance will just fall into their hands. The idea that just any grade and any GPA will get you into college and get you into a successful high paying career is false. If a college looks at your transcripts and sees low grades, what’s the first thing that they’ll infer about you? That you must not work hard enough or apply yourself enough to your academics. And spoiler alert: college is also big on academics. How can a college accept you if they don’t full heartedly believe that you’re going to be able to keep up with the rest of your peers?

And it doesn’t stop at college. In the work force you will also be expected to, guess what, work. No matter what job or career you are in, you are hired on the basis that everyday you are putting your best foot forward and giving as much of your time and effort as you possibly can towards your job. How you work now not only affects you, but every other person in your place of work, and if you’re unable to uphold your end of the job, then employers might find it best to find someone else who will. And in such a modern, competitive workforce don’t doubt for a second that there isn’t somebody waiting to replace you as soon as they can.

Having good work ethic isn’t something you can just learn. You don’t wake up and say to yourself “I’m going to learn how to work hard today” the same way you would say “I’m going to learn how to ride a bike today.” Work ethic is something that takes years to develop and perfect, and it only continues to shape itself throughout your lifetime. The real world is competitive and unapologetic. Nothing is just simply going to be handed to you. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you begin to put in real work for what your want, the sooner you’ll find yourself more successful and doing bigger and bigger things with yourself. Don’t sit around waiting for your big moment to just suddenly come to you, go out and seize it for yourself. In the end you’ll be thinking to yourself, “Yeah… I did that.”  



Keep On Dreaming, Selma High

By Anna Armstrong

Idealism, it has been said, is naїve, and thus we should never succumb to it. Right? 

Wrong. Victor Hugo said, “It is by the real that we exist; it is by the ideal that we live.” 

Wouldn’t you rather live than merely just exist?  Well Selma High… it is time to start living.

Throughout high school we have pragmatism drilled into us. We are told that after high school, we will be thrust into an unapologetic, unforgiving world. Because of this, we are told to be realistic and to not bite off more than we can chew. We are told we must give 110% of our effort in everything we do. If we do not have perfect grades and an impeccable work ethic, we will never amount to as much as we want to- we will never achieve big things. 

This is simply untrue. It is important to realize that we are still kids. We are fourteen to eighteen year olds. This is the time in our lives where we are supposed to live freely while exploring who we are. Our grades matter, but they shouldn’t as much as they do now. 

We will be adults soon. Then everything goes so quickly and we become busy, working people. This is the natural progression in aging, but we aren’t there yet. As shocking as it sounds, it’s okay not to do every homework assignment or spend an entire weekend studying for one test. Live. Have fun. We aren’t supposed to take the world so seriously yet. 

We are also told to only pursue career paths that will suit our strengths. I am here to tell you that you should strive to be what you want to be, not what you are told you can be. It is not unrealistic to want to be an astronaut, or a filmmaker, or even the president. 

This may sound cliché, but it is true: All of mankind’s greatest feats have been achieved because people dared to dream. 

Would there be smartphones had innovators felt like their dream was impossible? Would we have gone to the moon if people were unwilling to take risks? 

Behind every human achievement is a mind that dared to go to places never traveled before.

My next piece of advice is to not let your experiences and failures define who you are or who you aspire to be. Dream beyond the scope of your current situation.

Life in Selma isn’t always easy. People here have had to overcome more adversity than most, but this overcoming of obstacles is precisely why we need to be idealistic. In fact, it should push us to do more in regards to bettering our situations. 

Oprah Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi. She had a son at age fourteen, who died in infancy. Nevertheless, she persisted. She defied all expectations. Now she is a billionaire, who dedicates her time to making the world a better place. 

Jim Carrey had to drop out of school at age fifteen. For a while, he lived out of a van. However, he did not let this stop him from becoming a wildly successful comedian. 

If these great people can overcome so much, then we surely can too. This goes to show that we are people first, and our experiences are just a part of our narrative. We are so much more than what we’ve gone through. 

So students of Selma High, keep dreaming. Don’t ever let them tell you that being an idealist is a bad thing.