By: Nora Carrier
Junior and Sophomore participants claimed victory in the annual SING! competition at the Joseph Anzalone Theater on February 4th, but some feel their victory was earned to an unfair penalty-point system.
According to the score sheet posted outside of the library, the Senior-Fresh team actually had more points – 1857 to 1854 — based on the shows. However, when bonus points and penalty points were added and deducted from each team’s score, the overall results were 2777-1732, with Junior-Soph as the winner.
While bonus points can be added to the team’s score for a slew of reasons, what students have complained about is that each team can have penalty points deducted from their score for breaking a number of rules.
Central SING! which is a student-run group, is in charge of the points and can deduct point for such infractions as charging phones inappropriately, painting their set late, and having a non-SING! member in the area.
Critics of the penalty and bonus point systems say they are not told what the cause of specific point deductions are, which makes the system vulnerable to cheating.
“This system is corrupt and can easily be cheated to change the winning team,” said senior Oren Kornfeld, a member of the Senior-Fresh SING! team, and a vocal critic of the penalty-point system.
Central SING! member Jacob Flickinger, who had a role in the deducting and adding of penalty and bonus points, understands why many are frustrated with the system.
“It is now very possible for every judge to favor one show but for the other show to win,” said Flickinger. “The penalties cause the students in SING!, particularly the leaders, to worry that they will inadvertently cause a deduction or allow one to happen.”
Still, the point system plays a very important role in SING!, said Flickinger
“The point system is meant to encourage a level of order so that the experience will be as positive as possible,” Flickinger said. “If there were no point penalties at all, SING! could become anarchical and there would be safety issues, but the students would be more relaxed.”
Most students, particularly those on the Junior-Soph team, see the controversy with the point system, but accept the overall outcome of the competition.
“I think it’s biased, I don’t think it’s rigged,” said sophomore Lily Shuhbeck, “Going into SING!, you know it’s a contest.”
Others, like Kornfeld, said they feel the entire concept of penalty points is unfair and can lead to cheating.
“An entire team should not be punished for the actions of an individual,” said Kornfeld. “[Central SING!] can easily cheat a team out of a win if they have something against them.”
In response to the outcry among students, Principal Mr. Allen Barge said he is planning to create a committee in the near future of students and faculty to assess and reform the SING! system.
“Having an open discussion and hearing one another is important,” said Mr. Barge. “The committee is going to be made up of faculty who have been in SING! who come together to improve [SING!], talk about things that are going well, and things to suggest and hold on to for next year.”
Mr. Barge also mentioned that the committee will have selected representatives from all grades, who will speak to their experiences with SING!.
Despite the controversy, most SING! participants said they thoroughly enjoyed SING! this year, and were proud of their shows.
“I know our show was good,” said freshman Klorel Vinson. “It was a group effort.”
Junior-Soph SING! director Maddy Cahill expressed her love of SING!, and noted the hard work her team put into the rehearsal process.
“We put in an incredible amount of effort and I think it payed off,” said Cahill.