Protesting for a Cause

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What started as a protest against the dismissal of the soccer coaches, turned into a call for equal representation led by Hoover students.

On April 28, 2016, soccer athletes assembled a protest in the front quad to challenge the administration’s decision to let go Coaches Jose De Los Santos, Honorio A. Luvianos and Papo Santos from the soccer department for a reason unknown to students. However, Administration vowed that the decision was strictly made to improve the soccer program and that students will be involved in choosing a new coach.

Angered and hurt by this decision, the soccer players couldn’t grasp the true intentions of why all of their coaches, especially their head coach who had been coaching at Hoover for over 20 years, would not be joining them for the next season.

“We hope to get our coaches back. They were coaches you can’t find. For example, our head Coach, Papo, has coached professional [soccer] … and for him to come back to cross that line of success … to help his community and that is a big part,” said junior Vechea Lor.

In hopes to seek out the truth, the team decided to engage in a peaceful demonstration. Rather than attending classes, over a hundred students opted to join in on the rally to help advocate for their fellow soccer players. But many were there just to ditch.

“I didn’t want to go to class, so I joined in,” said one student, anonymously.

On April 29, 2016, soccer athletes led a large group of students (on a school day) to the school district in hopes to appeal administrations decisions. However, like the protest, the true intentions of the walkout were misconstrued. Upon meeting with the district officials, the rally, originally for the soccer coaches, turned into a session of complaints from students who were not directly affected by the administrative decision.

“It made us look like we don’t know what we want,” said junior Jocelyn De La Riva, “We went from wanting our coaches back to equal representation for the whole school.”

The student voices were heard, but the district was supportive of administration. Details of the dismissal were not available. In light of the media frenzy, administration handled the peaceful protesting fairly and acknowledged the student concerns. Instead of chastising the students, administration was overjoyed with the leadership skills.

“I was very proud of the way students conducted themselves, particularly the soccer players. I learned more of what the kids want to change in the school in three hours yesterday than I have collected in my first two years of being the principal,” said Principal Joe Austin.

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