Executive’s Note: This article was originally published on June 12, 2019 and has been updated for accuracy.

By David Montenegro
Purple Post Executive President

It has now become something of a tradition for the Purple Post to offer a questionnaire for students, as an opportunity for reflection and meaningful dialogue within our community. Last year, students were allowed the opportunity to bring up one current issue that they felt was important to them. This year’s survey included the same question. However, it also asked two more. More specifically, the questions were:

  1. What was the single MOST important issue TO YOU during the current (2018-2019) school year? Issues can be about but not limited to personal, school, local community, national, or global.
  2. If the Purple Post begins issuing a printed edition on the newspaper, will you buy AT LEAST ONE copy during the school year?
  3. In what ways can the Purple Post improve?

The last two questions are crucial to crafting the organization’s Master Plan for next school year. This year, the Purple Post has seen tremendous growth in readership, recognition, and social media followers, unlike any other time in its existence. These are milestone achievements and, for an organization that practically only came to be just a few years ago, this is unheard of. While this is certainly something to be proud of, the organization has the potential to grow to a much greater degree through greater promotion and input from our dedicated readers. The Purple Post upper management will continue to seek ways to increase efficiency in terms of publishing and communication, as well as productivity among the organization’s departments.

One way Upper Management thought of increasing revenues and recognition among the student body is by reissuing limited printed editions of the newspaper. School administrators and alumni alike expressed enthusiasm for this plan, which would bring back an aspect of the school’s culture that was discontinued almost two decades ago. As an incentive for students to purchase a copy, exclusive articles not found on our website would be placed onto the physical paper version. The time intervals between issuing them, and the number of copies printed, would be dependent on its demand. Management predicted (prior to the administration of the survey) that a couple hundred paper copies were most likely sufficient to satisfy a minimal portion of the student body. Although it’s not a guarantee that paper editions will roll out in the 2019-2020 school year, survey respondents will be a determining factor in ranking its priority in the Master Plan.

The last section was an open ended question about how the Purple Post could improve for next year. Students have given a multitude of suggestions, constructive criticism, and some very straightforward thoughts on the organization and its members. We acknowledge and thank you for your honesty. It’s important for us to be aware of the general opinion of the student body, so we can improve, realize our mistakes, and make sure we’re heading in the right direction.

A special thanks to the students who decided to respond to our survey. Your input will help contribute to the future plans of the organization. Now here are the results of the second annual Purple Post survey.

Survey Background Information

Surveys were distributed during homeroom on May 30, 2019. They were completed within a span of a week. We received a total of 356 responses,108 more than in 2018, which was 248. Underclassmen voted overwhelmingly, since the survey day took place during senior AP exams. 151 respondents were freshmen, 132 were sophomores, 70 were juniors, and just 3 were seniors.

For the first question some put more than one issue. Only the first issue written was included.

‘2019 End of Year Survey’ Executive Summary:

Findings for Question 1:

279 out of 356 total students made a valid response to the first question. There were 27 personal issues, 169 relating to school, 4 about our local community, 35 national, and 44 global. Compared to the 2018 survey, there were 21.6% more concerns for national issues in 2018 than this year. School issues took up a good chunk of the pie at 60.6%, up 7.3% from 2018. Personal and national issues have increased a bit as well. There has been no significant percentage change in local community issues in 2018 and this year.

Personal Issues:

In the mental health category, there were 5 respondents who felt that their state of mind took a turn for the worse during the school year. Stress, anxiety, and depression were some of the problems that students faced. 5 respondents chose time management. Family, relationship, and friendship problems amounted to 4 responses in the social issue category. Though some responses were not specified, apparently 4 respondents took issue with sports. 2 responses mentioned the issue of sleep deprivation, which has become more prevalent among teenagers. Social media use was an issue for 2 respondents. The other category takes issue with someone’s future, lack of motivation, art, surgery along with frequent doctor visits, and catching the city bus.

Local Issues:

No chart was produced due to a low number of responses. Two respondents took issue with their community, but otherwise did not specify. One said that society is not helping individuals “strive.” Another respondent said they wanted to learn more about local politics.

School Issues:

36 total responses were related to academics, with 20 focusing on grades, 8 being concerned about homework and course workload, 3 complaining about class difficulty, 3 studying for the AP and SAT exams, and unfortunately 2 said they’ve failed a course and would have to repeat the same grade. 23 responses were about the student’s relationship with a teacher or guidance counselor. The social media issue in late April, which touched on the subject of racism and transphobia, sparked a school discussion which mattered a lot to 21 respondents. Concerns over next year’s school schedule, with the possibility of removing Wednesday late start, introducing rotating schedule, and a student suggestion for free periods, totaled to 19. The school building’s condition was important to 13 students. Criticisms ranged from the building’s deterioration in general, lack of air conditioning, inadequate bathrooms, the pipe that burst on the second floor (which unfortunately damaged someone’s belongings), and the noise made by the girl’s locker room door. The unfortunate shooting at PCTA on the second day of school caught the attention of the freshmen who were just getting adjusted to the new environment; 12 responses, mostly from that class, were related to the event. 6 students believed school sport promotion was an issue, factors including morning announcements, the Purple Post’s limited coverage on Junior Varsity teams, and the general disinterest of the student body. Another 6 respondents criticized the public school system in general. 5 respondents had complaints about the Classical community, such as student life, freshmen behavior, and the school year being boring. There were 27 other responses on a variety of school issues, such as the work to rule strike, lack of school funding, among others which are brought up in the ‘Raw Responses’ below.

National Issues:

This year, state abortion laws made the top national issue for students, with 10 responses (or 29.4% of the responses) supporting either a pro-life and pro-choice stance. The recent surge of state regulatory laws on abortions in 2019 sparked controversy all over the country. Even in Rhode Island a public outcry arose when the RI State Senate failed to pass a bill to decriminalize abortion in the state’s constitution . Compared to 2018, gun control is no longer the top issue for the majority of the student body this year, possibly as a result of reduced media coverage on the issue. The percentage fell from 68.0% down to just 14.7% of the national issues responses. Racism in the country was the main concern of 5 respondents, politics 5, LGBT issues 3, civil rights 2, and other issues 4.

Global issues:

Climate change remains to be the top global issue for Classical students. The overall percentage this year is 88.6%, up from 69.2% in 2018. There were 3 responses for the general environment, and two in the other category.

Findings for Question 2:

349 out of 356 total students responded to the second question. 61 students (17.5% of the student body) answered ‘Yes;’ they’re very likely to buy a paper newspaper. 104 students (29.8% of the student body) answered ‘No;’ they aren’t interested in the paper edition. 184 students (52.7% of the student body) answered ‘Maybe,’ meaning they would consider buying a paper newspaper depending on certain factors, such as price and content.

The findings for this question are promising, and align perfectly with Management’s earlier prediction. Classical High School has approximately 1,200 attendants, thus 17.5% of the population is 210 students. Therefore, if the Purple Post were to publish a paper edition in the near future, we would only have to produce 200 copies at minimum to satisfy demand, not counting the ‘Maybe’ respondents.

Findings for Question 3:

The top suggestions for the Purple Post:

  • More exposure, announcements, advertisements, publicity, interaction both online and in school. One specifically asked to spread to other platforms such as Snapchat. Several students enjoyed taking this survey, and asked us to do more in the future. Another respondent wanted recent Purple Post headlines to be read over the morning announcements. Students were also interested in doing on-campus interviews with students on an array of topics. One concern for us is the amount of respondents who It were not aware of the Purple Post’s existence. Though we’ve done a good job reaching out to nearly half of the student body on social media, we have to work on reaching the other half. Next year, we will heavily invest in advertising around school, and be present during the morning announcements. We will find ways to make access to our website and online content easier for students.
  • More articles, consistent uploads, topic diversity, writers, and more content concerning important school issues. Now that our senior writers have left, the Purple Post has only 10 writers available! We will make it easier and efficient for students to apply for a position for our organization. Students don’t have to be experienced writers to part of our team. In addition, students can be writers and serving a secondary role at the same time. Currently there are three departments: Management, Editing, and Communications (though Finance may be added). Members will not only improve on their writing skills, but will also gain experience in other areas that can look great in a job or college resume. We are aware that most of the Purple Post articles cover upperclassmen, and not so much our freshmen. Everyone should get some sort of coverage during the school year.
  • More opinion articles, and make it easier to respond to them. This year, only three were published: abolish the second amendment with responses against such proposal, and a case in favor of plastic straws. In all cases brought some level of discussion among the student body. As the 2020 presidential election comes close, the Purple Post will take advantage of that by reaching out to students on both political aisles and encourage them to freely write their opinions on current events. Plans are currently being made to facilitate the freelance writing process so everyone could have their voices heard on the Purple Post.

‘2019 End of Year Survey’ Raw Data:

Senior Class Response:

2 out of 3 answered the first question:

  • Personal: 0
  • School: 2
    • The social media issue: 1
    • Freshmen behavior: 1
  • Local Community: 0
  • National: 0
  • Global: 0

3 out of 3 answered the second question:

  • Yes: 0
  • No: 1
  • Maybe: 2

3 suggestions:

  • More exposure, announcements, advertisements, publicity: 2
  • Purge the freshmen: 1

Juniors Class Response:

64 out of 70 had a valid response to the first question:

  • Personal: 5
    • Mental Health (Stress Depression): 2
    • Relationship issue: 1
    • My future: 1
    • Sports in general: 1
  • School: 28
    • The social media issue: 6
    • Classical community: 3
    • College/SATs: 2
    • Teachers: 2
    • Next year’s school schedule (no late start, rotating schedule, free periods): 2
    • Grades: 2
    • School funding: 2
    • Discussions on Purple Post Editorials: 2
    • Building deteriorating: 1
    • Addressing school mental health: 1
    • JV Teams: 1
    • Sakura Festival being indoors: 1
    • Junior student government: 1
    • The pipe that burst on the second floor: 1
    • Access to unknown school resources: 1
  • Local Community: 0
  • National: 18
    • Abortion Laws: 5
    • Racism: 4
    • Politics: 3
    • Gun Control: 3
    • Equal rights: 1
    • Women’s rights: 1
    • Liberal media bias: 1
  • Global: 13
    • Climate Change: 11
    • Environment: 2

70 out of 70 answered the second question:

  • Yes: 13
  • No: 20
  • Maybe: 37

62 suggestions:

  • More exposure, announcements, advertisements, publicity, interaction both online and school: 23
  • More articles/topic diversity/writers/important school issues: 8
  • Purple Post Editorials: 5
    • Less/eliminate opinion articles: 3
    • More opinion articles/Make it easier to write responses: 2
  • Print edition of Purple Post: 4
    • Go ahead and print: 3
    • It’s fine, I’m just not willing to buy a newspaper and read it unless the content is on BTS (a Kpop Group) or other things that strongly interest me: 1
  • Purple Post is doing fine/No improvements needed: 3
  • Report on US News/current events: 2
  • Make people read articles, not just Instagram captions: 2
  • Easier access to website: 2
  • Give more surveys: 2
  • Research topics better/proofread/peer-edit: 2
  • Keep the Instagram page: 2
  • More of a particular Purple Post member: 1
  • Don’t be dumb about the environment: 1
  • Create a better climate for debate and discussion: 1
  • Remove a particular Purple Post member: 1
  • Stop promoting a particular student’s social media: 1
  • Improve Instagram post/story graphics: 1
  • Read headlines over announcements: 1

Sophomore Class Response:

107 out of 132 sophomores had a valid response to the first question.

  • Personal: 11
    • Mental Health: 2
    • Not getting enough sleep: 2
    • Social media: 2
    • Family issues: 2
    • Lack of motivation 1
    • Sports in general: 1
    • Art: 1
  • School: 78
    • Getting rid of late start: 17
    • Teachers/guidance: 15
    • Grades: 8
    • Workload/homework: 8
    • The social media issue: 6
    • School sports: 5
      • Purple Post sport coverage: 3
      • Students not promoting girls sports: 1
      • Sports (unspecified): 1
    • Building deterioration: 4
    • Lockdown/Shooting at PCTA in September: 3
    • Teacher’s strike: 3
    • Little attention to students’ mental health: 2
    • School in general: 2
    • Lack of recycling: 1
    • Debate team: 1
    • Keeping up with the fast pace of the school year: 1
    • The importance of educating people on human rights topics: 1
    • The fact that Mr. Barr didn’t read morning announcement on the remake of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga: 1
  • Local Community: 3
    • Community in general: 2
    • Society not helping individuals “strive”: 1
  • National: 4
    • Racism: 2
    • Gun control: 1
    • Freedom of speech: 1
  • Global: 11
    • Climate Change: 9
    • Environment in general: 1
    • Rise of nationalism globally: 1

127 out of 132 answered the second question:

  • Yes: 20
  • No: 39
  • Maybe: 68

76 suggestions:

  • Exposure: 31
  • Variety: 22
  • No need for improvement: 5
  • Better website, better accessibility: 4
  • Interview students on campus: 2
  • Do more polls: 1
  • Pressure school to side with an issue: 2
    • Endorse a political side: 1
  • Reach out to different people: 1
  • Put the full article on Instagram: 1
  • Maybe post more about what the school is doing on the Purple Post Instagram, that’s (meaning the school) where I mostly hang out: 1
  • Make it more like a magazine or something that’ll catch the eyes of the newer generation (colored pictures, affordable prices, not printed on copy paper): 1
  • No printed edition ‘cause global warming: 1
  • Comic drawing articles: 1
  • They could be the main source of announcing games, events, fundraisers, but also be a way or beacon of positivity and encouragement to students: 1
  • Get consent from the students/people they’re going to use for the newspaper: 1
  • Helping more kids with homework: 1

Freshmen Class Response:

106 out of 151 freshmen had a valid response.

  • Personal: 11
    • Time management: 5
    • Sports in general: 2
    • Mental health: 1
    • Friendship issues: 1
    • Surgery, doctor visits: 1
    • Catching the city bus: 1
  • School: 61
    • Grades: 10
    • Shooting at PCTA: 9
    • The social media issue: 8
    • Teachers: 6
    • School system in general: 4
    • Class difficult: 3
    • Getting adjusted to high school: 2
    • Building deteriorating: 2
    • Lack of air conditioning: 2
    • Bathrooms: 2
    • Fire drill during passing time: 2
    • Girl’s locker room door makes noise: 1
    • Lack of funding: 1
    • AP Exams: 1
    • Schedule: 1
    • School year was too boring; more activities are needed: 1
    • How school handles issue: 1
    • The school department attempting to better things, but making them worse: 1
    • Opportunities for high school students: 1
    • Student activism: 1
    • Not passing, staying back: 2
  • Local Community: 1
    • Knowing Rhode Island politics: 1
  • National: 13
    • Abortion laws: 5
    • Trump Administration: 2
    • Gun control: 1
    • Equality, respect: 1
    • LGBT issues: 3
    • Plastic straws: 1
  • Global: 20
    • Climate Change: 19
    • Music becoming more global (certain genres expanding to different countries): 1

149 out of 151 answered the second question:

  • Yes: 28
  • No: 44
  • Maybe: 77

88 suggestions:

  • Exposure: 31
  • More articles, more topics: 16
    • Interesting topics: 5
    • Reports on what’s really happening in school: 4
    • Talk about more students, even if they aren’t in clubs: 4
    • More essays on sports: 1
    • More articles: 1
    • Cover broader topics: 1
  • Its aight: 9
  • Paper edition: 6
    • Do it: 5
    • Don’t, will only cut down trees: 1
  • More uploads/be consistent: 4
  • Purple Post should be more involved with all grades, not just upperclassmen: 3
  • Allow more freedom with what’s being published: 2
  • Interview on-campus: 2
  • Make Purple Post reliable on Instagram: 1
  • Report on Junior varsity sports, not just Varsity: 1
  • Report on world issues: 1
  • Report on student government incompetence: 1
  • Better article pictures: 1
  • Some comedy should be included/more entertaining: 2
  • More surveys: 1
  • Sell more things: 1
  • Spread to other platforms: 1
  • Purple Post can notify us earlier than they currently doing so we have a heads up: 1
  • More articles on popular students: 1
  • Improve access to website: 2
  • Change the name: 1