Varsity Letters No Longer Restricted to Sports

Kunal Kumar, Contributing Writer

Take a walk through Morris Hills and you will see numerous students sporting their red and white varsity jackets. For high school students around the country, earning a varsity letter for any sport is considered a high honor. It marks their success in competition, where they can put their athletic abilities on full display. Furthermore, it is an indicator of students’ hard work even off of the field, an award that they keep and hold dear throughout their lives. Now, varsity letters are not just being awarded for sports, but also some other extracurricular activities.

Beginning this school year, Morris Hills will be awarding varsity letters for clubs. This was enacted by former governor Chris Christie, who signed the bill into law. It stated that varsity letters will no longer be restricted to sports, students who have demonstrated excellence in their clubs and other school-sanctioned activities will now have the opportunity to earn the same award as their sports star counterparts. One key factor in this new ruling, though, is that, according to Mr. Haraka, the Morris Hills athletics director, “Any student who participates in a club or activity that represents the school, regardless of it being an athletic program, may be eligible for a Varsity Letter as long as that club or activity competes against other schools in some manner.

“Earning varsity is a pretty amazing experience,” said Akshay Rau, who is currently a sophomore on Morris Hills’ cross country team and will be receiving his varsity letter at the season’s end. Rau believes that any student who works hard should be eligible to earn his or her varsity letter, stating, “That’s all it comes down to. If you work hard, coaches and teachers will certainly notice it and you will get rewarded, as you should.”

One club that is will be affected by  the new change is the Morris Hills Mock Trial Team. Advised by Mrs. Sherburne, the team participates in an annual statewide competition in which students work as a team to try a hypothetical criminal or civil case, as members of both the prosecution and the defence. Mrs. Sherburne stated that “there is a criteria that was created to ensure that the students receiving letters were active members in competition and practice.” Rather than having letters being worn on the varsity jackets, “they are framed for the members with a copy of the case in the background.” Mock Trial students, along with other students who participate in after school activities, put in many extra hours after school and now they will be awarded accordingly.