Should non-athletic activities be given a Varsity Letter?

Earning a varsity letter is a defining moment in any high school student’s career. Whether the student is the star of the varsity football team or the first-place winner on the debate team, a varsity letter is the ultimate achievement. Fortunately, DCDS offers letter sweaters to students to let them display their many achievements, and it is no secret that the varsity letter jacket is the epitome of the “cool-factor.” The real question is: what are the requirements to earn such a prominent award? DCDS offers multiple opportunities for students to earn a varsity letterowever, with new rules set, the requirements for earning one may have changed as well.

As DCDS ventures into its next century, new rules have surfaced. In past years, if a student participated in a play or a musical, they were rewarded with a varsity letter, regardless of whether or not they were playing the lead role. Recently, however, DCDS has been reevaluating whether or not varsity letters should only be given to students who participate in varsity sports. It has become an issue of defining what a varsity letter is. Is it just an award for intense athletics? Or for the dedicated academic and artistic students?

“A varsity letter should be awarded to a student who demonstrates excellence in a school activity,” freshman Stefanie Roche said. “I happen to participate in both theatre and sports, but I believe participation in the theatre, music, and the arts is equally as important as a sport. Awarding a varsity letter in the arts demonstrates that DCDS is equally committed to the importance of arts as well as athletics.”

It is evident that students can earn a varsity letter not only by being a part of a varsity sports team, but also by participating in the performing arts. Giving varsity letters to those who participate in theatre productions offers a chance to show how DCDS is devoted to supporting both the athletics and the arts; however, awarding a letter to everyone in the play diminishes the value and worth of a varsity letter.

Achieving a varsity letter is no simple task. The time and effort that student thespians put into rehearsing for plays and musicals is comparable to the amount of effort that athletes put into their practices and competitions; however, a varsity letter should not be given to every member of a theater production. In other words, only an actor or actress of a leading role should earn a letter; students who simply have a 2-minute role in a play or musical should not be able to receive a varsity letter. If that were the case, the idea of the varsity letter would not be idolized as much as it should. The point of a varsity letter is to reward those who are exceptional in a particular activity, whether it is athletics or the arts.

“Our student athletes give so much to their respective programs and for them to have a form of acknowledgement that is their own seems logical and fair,” English teacher and Men’s Varsity Lacrosse Head Coach Mr. Michael Cappelletti said. “As a school whose motto is ‘A Sound Mind in a Sound Body,’ it makes sense to honor that kind of involvement in a way that isn’t just a participation trophy (sweater) that anyone can buy or have.”​

DCDS follows the motto “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano,” and awarding varsity letters is just one of the many ways to honor this motto. It is important to continue to acknowledge the varsity letter for what it is worth and to not neglect what earning a letter really means.

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