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Petition circulates to end Pony Activity Center fees

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Alternative Copy Story and Photos by Mason Wylie

Hundreds of students join junior Bryn Cater in petitioning school authorities to remove a student fee for use of the Pony Athletic Center.

In December, about 900 students and staff members signed a petition, which seeks to remove a monthly $20 fee for the Pony Athletic Center, known as the PAC. Despite the petition’s broad support, the Community Education department maintained that the fee is a necessity to offset management costs.

“I think it is extremely unfair that we have to pay to use our own facilities taken that we have used them in previous years for free,” petition founder Bryn Carter explained. “The goal of our petition is to make the PAC free for all students and teachers.”

When the PAC was completed this fall, many students were surprised by the administrative fee, given that Stillwater area residents already paid for construction of the multi million dollar facilities. However, the PAC fee covers an expense that may not be immediately obvious.

“Since we have the facility, we need to have some supervision of those students that use it and supervision costs money,” Activities Director Ricky Michel explained.

Anticipating the school’s resistance, Carter set high goals for the petition and laid the groundwork for an effort that might take years.

We do have to bring our petition out into the community more, not just the school itself.  It might not work this year, but as long as we get something started for ongoing years, we will be fine.”

— Bryn Carter

“We do have to bring our petition out into the community more, not just the school itself.  It might not work this year, but as long as we get something started for ongoing years, we will be fine,” Carter explained.

Even with continuing support, the petition might face a challenging path towards success. Removing the activity fee would involve more facets of the school bureaucracy than just the Community Education department, which is in charge of managing the PAC.

“We did have a meeting with a few of the people who work in the PAC including [Michel] and they basically told us ‘no we’re going to need more data for five or ten years before we can do
anything about changing the price,’” Carter said.

“They have to be with their coach, they can’t just walk up there and start using it. We ask our coaches, ‘If you’re going to use anything, be with your team so it’s easy to identify the group,’” Michel explained.

For a full list of Student Use Guidelines are on the Community Education website. The Pony Activity Center is open Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Still many students, including senior Jack Degonda, feel that the PAC ought to be completely open to sports participants, who already pay an activity fee of around $195 per sport.

“Contributing members of sports teams have in enough hours that the PAC centers cost is only reasonable for people who don’t go to this school,” Degonda said.

Ultimately, regardless of how carefully reasoned the PAC fee is, it faces opposition simply because the school offers many pay on demand services which used to be free.

“The reality is your generation is used to user fees. When I was a student at Stillwater High School, it was just part of the whole package. Unfortunately we have blanketed everyone to say that if you’re going to use something that the school does not fund, you’re going to have to pay for it,” Michel said.


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About the Writer
Levi Gregg, Copy Editor

Levi Gregg is a copy editor and is a junior who writes in the news department.  He is the chair of Youth For Sustainable Solutions, he is in track and cross country and his favorite dictator is Fransisco Franco.

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19 Responses to “Petition circulates to end Pony Activity Center fees”

  1. Evelyn Young on January 10th, 2018 5:37 pm

    This headline immediately caught my attention. I have heard a lot of talk about this petition and wanted to learn more about it. The article does a good job of giving people perspectives they may have not considered before, such as supervision. I also like how it acknowledges both students and adults opinions on the PAC. The sources selected were also people close to the issue so it made the information more convincing.

  2. Gabrielle Danielson on January 11th, 2018 11:21 am

    This article was written very well. The title caught my attention. I liked that for this article you got good info from all sides as in students and the people in charge of the PAC. This article also leaves me wanting to know more about this topic if anything changes in the future.

  3. Fotini Kloos on January 12th, 2018 10:28 am

    Great job on this article Levi! Very intriguing to learn about this new subject! I never even knew students were fighting for this! The article was very well written with informative things to know about all perspectives of the PAC and the people involved. Also, I agree with Gabi, It makes me want to know more of what will happen in the future because of this controversial issue. Very well-written & Interesting overall!

  4. Alyssa Bump on January 12th, 2018 11:10 am

    The headline is what caught my attention. Its a super controversial topic in our school right now so its interesting how the newspaper covered it. I also enjoy how it shows both sides of the issue, not just the students.

  5. Joseph Blomquist on January 16th, 2018 1:27 pm

    This article was very well written, and the alternative copy is a very good secondary way to get the information

  6. Luke Higgins on January 16th, 2018 1:32 pm

    This article was one of the more interesting articles we have, it was put together and written extremely well. It was very easy to read and follow. It was something I did not know was going on, I thought the players of sports could use it for free.

  7. Kaitlyn Kirby on January 16th, 2018 2:03 pm

    The headline caught my attention because I did not know that there was a petition for the PAC. The article was very well written and had very strong quotes. I liked how there were some reasons why we had to pay to use the PAC and how it affects the members of sports teams. It was a smart choice to show both sides of the story and having the two different sources with opposite views.

  8. Hunter Hippel on January 16th, 2018 5:30 pm

    I thought this article as extremely honest and reasonable about the challenges the petition faces. You talked to a lot of people and that gave this story a lot of insight. Going to straight to the source, Ricky Michel, was smart. That said, I felt the lead was a little weak, and there were some grammar errors. The headline drew my attention though.

  9. Wyatt Wasko on January 16th, 2018 7:34 pm

    The headline drew my attention into the story as I had heard about the petition. I thought the article was very honest as it was an easy topic to be heavily biased with,
    The article was very well done and with this it was easy to read.

  10. Mira LaNasa on January 16th, 2018 8:46 pm

    It’s nice to have this article out there for those who don’t know about the petition. I liked the colors and layout of the alt copy, however the text was somewhat difficult to read, so darker or bolded text would really help the reader out. Otherwise, the alt copy is really unique and professional, and paired with the article, helps a lot with readership.

  11. Hailey Willius on January 16th, 2018 8:51 pm

    Lead immediately grabbed my attention and pushed me towards an article that was well constructed. Without any use of opinion Levi Gregg was able to beautifully write this article showing both sides and the reason behind the fee for the PAC. In contrast to the staff editorial on the PAC it highlighted more of the reasons behind the fee rather than that discussed of students. The smartest sedition was getting quotes from Michel. The only thing it was lacking was a comment from a person who works to maintain the PAC. Levi should be very proud of this article.

  12. Grant Hietpas on January 16th, 2018 9:21 pm

    Good article Levi. I covered this for the Staff Ed and I strongly agree with your analysis of the situation. Unfortunately, you missed an r in Carter in the first sentence.

  13. Rose Deziel on January 16th, 2018 11:04 pm

    The article was very well written. Also, the headline was effective as well because it drew me in. I appreciate how you included the student perspective and the staff perspective. The quotes were compelling rather than generic. As for the alt. copy, I really loved the big pictures because it made it more interesting to look at and read. Awesome job!

  14. Michael VanLieshout on January 17th, 2018 8:02 am

    This was written really well. The quotes are high quality and I could tell the research was thorough.

  15. Mason Wylie on January 17th, 2018 8:11 am

    I think that this article shares a lot of information that the reader needs, and this is done in a non forceful manner. Also, the language used seemed to be very informative.

  16. Noah Schoolman on January 17th, 2018 3:14 pm

    Very well-written and informative article, I didn’t know this was an issue before, but the article was clearly researched well and I learned a lot.

  17. Luke Dickinson on January 18th, 2018 8:24 am

    This article was written well. It really informed the reader and gave background information, but some parts of the story I saw as controversal and it seemed very one sided at certain points in the article.

  18. Josefina Scherek on January 22nd, 2018 8:10 am

    This article is great! I like how it had 4 seperate headers on the print version so you know what you are about to read under each one. I think that is key for high school readers! The quotes were also very strong and not bias which was nice to see.

  19. Michael VanLieshout on March 13th, 2018 7:58 am

    I love how you did your research and how you got both sides of the story. Well done! This is a topic I am really passionate about and I feel you did a great job!

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