The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl

The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl

The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl

Is failure not an option?

Sage P.
The expectations signs around campus have the saying, “failure is not an option,” on them.

Have you ever been told that “failure is not an option?”

This simple phrase has been Day Creek’s motto since the school’s inception in 2004. The original principal and staff instituted it the same year students first stepped foot on our campus. Since then, graduation after graduation has featured a speech requiring a theme centered around those familiar words. 

But what if failure is an option? Don’t we have to fail to learn from our mistakes? And if we can’t fail, how are we supposed to learn?

“Failure is an option because it happens, and it’s sometimes a good thing because [failing] is a way we learn,” said Nick Zajicek, Day Creek’s principal.

That means that if Zajicek is correct, our motto is condemning a good thing. 

“I teach in my classroom that failure is important and that we learn from our failure, and it is an opportunity to grow,” said Ms. Learmont.

“If students go to school to learn, mistakes aren’t regrettable. They are essential.”

Failure could even be seen as a reward through the learning process or a mistake with growth attached. When did this become a bad thing? 

With regular thoughts about failure afflicting students’ minds, pressure and stress is a constant battle. Have you ever heard of atychiphobia? This specific type of phobia is rooted in the Greek word atyches meaning ‘unfortunate’. Those who live with the fear of failure face an unfortunate dilemma. 

“I think phobias have a lot to do with the expectations that are set with their standards,” said Ms. Gaines, Day Creek’s school counselor.

Students often crack under this pressure, but what if it’s a mindset issue that could actually raise a fearlessness of error?

Similar to how teachers use practice from writing in class to coaches using scrimmages on a sporting field, there is purpose and value in struggling through the process of growth post-defeat. 

“Some students look at our motto and think they are incapable of meeting the expectations of our school,” said Learmont. “It is good to have high expectations, however, we want to make sure the pressure isn’t [causing] unnecessary anxiety,” said Learmont.

The motto risks adding unnecessary stress to students when it shouldn’t. Ironically, seeing failure as an unacceptable option may unintentionally fail a student.

“[Students] freak out when they fail,” said Zajicek.

Many students and staff have the belief that failure is an option, as it allows students (and themselves) to learn new things. So perhaps our school motto is outdated and needs a change.

“I teach in my classroom that failure is an opportunity to grow, so in a way failure is an option if we apply it to a growth mindset,” said Learmont.

Hearing time after time that failure isn’t an option makes it increasingly difficult to recover. Students and staff hear conflicting messages that make it difficult to bounce back from mistakes. Something needs to change. 

“When we fail, we must keep going, getting better, and ultimately we [will] succeed,” said Zajicek. It is time that Day Creek learns from its own mistake. Students, teachers, administrators, and our PTSO must come together to bring an end to the motto that failure is not an option.

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About the Contributors
Brooklyn B.
Brooklyn B., School News Writer
Brooklyn like sports such as basketball, MMA, and swimming. She wants to be a lawyer when she is older. She likes art and she is very creative.
Brooklynn H.
Brooklynn H., School News Writer
Brooklynn loves to twirl and help at church. She also wants to be a kindergarten teacher, she wants to be a teacher just like her mom. She also started baton twirling like her mom when she was 3 years old, now she is the California intermediate 12-year-old twirler winner. She dreams of going to Worlds someday representing Team USA in 2 baton or solo!
Sage P.
Sage P., Editor-in-Chief
Sage is one of the Editors-in-Chief of The Day Creek Howl. When she is an adult, she dreams of being a criminal defense lawyer. In her free time, you'll catch her reading, drawing, dancing, or listening to music. She loves Marvel movies and the show, "Friends." Her favorite music artists are Laufey, Drake, Bruno Mars, and The Weeknd. She is super excited for the 2023-2024 school year and to be a part of The Howl for a second year.