Dear OHS Website: Get With The Times

Leo Spencer, Writer

In case you hadn’t noticed, the OHS website lacks a hefty lot of information and is out of date. Remember that assembly we had on Tuesday the 29th of September? And remember how you had no idea when classes would end and begin? The website’s calendar failed to mention any assembly at all and the weekly bulletin listed the 29th as a normal bell schedule. We relied on the teachers alone to tell us when our classes, lunch, and break would end.

Many teacher webpages are also blank, giving us not the slightest clue to who these people are. Crites, McCauley, Lewinsohn, and Curley and no information listed at all. Bullion had a 404 error pop up when I tried to click on her name.   The club list is also way out of date and lacking information. It is lacking the Speech and Debate Club, Latino Youth Club, Chess Club, Pizza Klatch, Japanese Club, African American Alliance, Drama Club, Book Review Club, Sci-fi Club, and Art Club. There are probably more I don’t know about and that’s because I don’t know how to learn about them. I know for sure that many students appear in Art Club every Bear Time, but all clubs should be listed if you want to try something new. Junior Ben Wilcox who uses the website once a day to check teacher pages, says “yes,” he would be more willing to join clubs if he knew what they all were. How will new clubs get off the ground (other than advertising) if the website doesn’t even mention they exist? The website has had plenty of time to update the list, and many of the clubs not mentioned were here last year and the year before that, even showing up in the yearbook.

Our website also lacks historical like archives, list of alumni, and why our original name was “William Winlock Miller High School.” The OHS website doesn’t mention how to access old newspapers, and I assume you have to discover a way yourself. The website itself fails to mention our alumni, which could be very interesting. You can scour the web and find sites with alumni, but it boggles my mind that our own school doesn’t even mention our graduates. I would like to find out who went to our school just out of curiosity, and you can’t trust every site on the Internet. This also makes me wonder how those attending class reunions can learn more information about the meet up if their school’s website fails to recognize them. You can’t find the origin of our school either. Our original name just doesn’t come out of the blue, there is meaning behind it, but meaning our school doesn’t find important enough to add to it’s own website. Ben Wilcox continues be saying, “Redo the formation, text, links, and the style; it seems old. They should have it more polished and update it to increase the traffic of the site.”

With all the information the website does have buried deep within its layers, it would seem like a good idea to include a search bar. Would clubs be under “Activities,” “Class Web Pages,” or “OHS community”? This is just for something many students do every Friday at least, and some clubs happen on days other than Friday, believe it or not. Many people outside OHS who may want information on the Bearzaar or Bearage sale will need to tread through vague categories where these events could be listed under any of the confusing tabs. A search bar would help everybody connect to what they want much faster than the current way. I’ve known much smaller sites with search bars, so it isn’t impossible. We also come from a big, smart school. Surely someone knows how to add a search bar or at least make the site more navigable.

Although all of these problems irk me, there is one I find truly alarming; what do we do if there is a fire or a lockdown? Sure they mention what to do if the ground starts shaking, but how can parents know if their child is still alive? We just had an assembly on what to do, but what about those who were absent or the incoming freshmen? Nothing was listed before we learned this useful new information. Sure we have some drills where we lay on the ground with the lights off, but we just learned not to do that. The website says nothing, so if we are in danger, how will those not at the assembly react if their lives are in danger? I am also concerned about the lack of fire safety. When the fire alarm goes off during passing periods, confusion breaks out. The website has nothing saying what to do when the school could be burning down, it doesn’t even tell us which class to go to. For your information, it’s fourth, but I’m sure many don’t know that.   School shootings aren’t going away either, in fact, a fatal shooting JUST happened on October 1st at an Oregon community college and a Capital High School student was arrested on the same day for “Possessing Dangerous Weapons on School Facilities”- a loaded handgun in his car, to “protect himself.” This story was on the front page of the OSD website in a bright yellow box. Wilcox says he personally knows what to do, but he worries about the other students and parents not knowing what to do. Everyone should be able to see what to do in our school if our lives truly are in danger.

We are living in the age of information. I think our school should get with the program, and I’m not alone. As a person who would prefer to stay nameless put it, “Website needs more swag.”

-Leo Spencer 10/12/15