Archive for Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Survey takes closer look at BHS class of 2003

May 14, 2003

There isn't one thing, a group or even an idea that defines Baldwin High School's Class of 2003. Maybe that's what makes it unique, or at least that's what class members believe.

"It's got a lot of diversity," said Daniel Musgrave, a graduating senior from the class. "We're definitely not all the same. I think it's a relief not having to be exactly uniform in dress or whatever."

Musgrave also believes that the Class of 2003 has gone above and beyond what was expected.

"There's not one particular highlight, except the year overall," he said. "We've passed my expectations and I think everyone's expectations. We had a tough act to follow from last year."

The Class of 2002 was chalk full of academic and athletic stalwarts. The belief was that the Class of 2003 wouldn't come close. But, it did. Senior Kate Lammers alone has posted as many academic honors as anyone could. The athletic teams have all performed quite well, including the fall sports sweep where all four sports -- football, volleyball, cross country and tennis -- went to state.

That's one of the items that senior Anna Skaggs remembers about her fellow graduates.

"I also think about the sports and how the seniors contributed in everything, which surprised people because of last year's class," said Skaggs. "It was a tough act to follow."

She also agreed with Musgrave that this year's class is diverse. It's also a class that gets along, she said.

"Actually, the things I think about most from this class, is maybe we aren't all best friends, but we stick together," said Skaggs. "We can all at least tolerate each other and get along. Other classes didn't have that."

There are numbers to back up Musgrave and Skaggs' contention about diversity. About a month ago, the Signal surveyed the graduating class. Several of the findings proved to be interesting.

One that particularly shows the diversity of the class involves religion. The question was: "How important would you say religion is in your own life?" The answers were "very important, fairly important and not very important." The responses were split almost evenly in thirds, with 35 percent answering "very important," 33 percent saying "fairly important" and 31 percent answering "not very important."

"That would really describe our class," Skaggs said of the answers for the religious question.

Another big split was from the question "What is the one thing you most often do for entertainment?" Checking in at 13 percent apiece were computer games and going to parties. Close behind at 11 percent was attend or participate in sporting activities. Watch movies or television were around 9 percent each.

But the big winner at 24 percent was "other." Examples of "other" listed most were going out with friends, but there were a multitude of others, such as hunting, fishing, writing music, riding horses, chat online, spend time with family and several with the answer of "whatever happens."

Both Skaggs and Musgrave agreed that the class has a different view of what "party" means and that was the reason for it being at 13 percent and the numerous "other" answers with hanging out with friends listed.

"It's still being with friends, but not partying in the sense of drinking," said Skaggs. "We go to movies and early in the year bowling was popular. It's just things like that. Doing things together without partying."

"In the general sense of partying, it's hanging out with friends," said Musgrave. "I can buy that. It's part of that diversity."

Other numbers back the pair up on that, too. According to the survey, 66 percent of the graduating class "never uses alcohol" and a whopping 86 percent "never use marijuana." Only about 2 percent use alcohol "once a day" and 5 percent use marijuana "once a day."

Somewhat related to those numbers and showing about the same findings was the question "Do you consider yourself sexually active?" Overall, the answer was 70 percent "no" and 30 percent "yes." Broken down into male and female, there were 68 percent of males stating they weren't sexually active and 73 percent of the females saying they weren't sexually active.

Overall findings of the survey showed: 55 percent male and 44 percent female for gender breakdown; 63 percent plan on attending a four-year college, 26 percent a two-year college and on 10 percent planning on going to work; 71 percent come from two-parent households, 25 percent from one-parent household and 3 percent live with older relative; 72 percent have Internet access at home, while 27 percent don't; and of the online usage numbers, 60 percent are online less than an hour a day, 32 percent are online from two to three hours a day and 7 percent are online more than five hours per day.

As for political-type questions, the class is evenly divided with 52 percent considering themselves liberal and 48 percent claiming to be conservative; 41 percent consider themselves Republican, 16 percent Democrat and 42 percent independent; interestingly enough, the vast majority -- 90 percent -- said they'd vote for a woman as president if she was qualified. That didn't surprise Skaggs.

"I don't think so," she said. "We live in a time when we know it's going to happen sooner or later."

At the time of the survey, the United States had just gone to war with Iraq. A question asked if the seniors "strongly agreed," "strongly disagreed," "somewhat agreed" or "somewhat disagreed" with the attack to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The answers showed 54 percent strongly agreed, 26 percent somewhat agreed, 12 percent somewhat disagreed and 7 percent strongly disagreed.

Additional stories from the survey are elsewhere in this issue of the Signal and others will follow in next week's issue.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.