A February Assembly at BHS—The Eagle’s Cry Critiques


Emily Betwinek and Evi Tzortzatos

High school students are funny. You’d think that the reality of having to miss class to go to an assembly would seem generally appealing, but on Tuesday, February 14th, 2023, this was far from reality. 

Adam Birkenstock was a different kind of presenter: basic enough at first glance, nothing too crazy, except he wasn’t geared towards high schoolers… at all. Hot take written moments after the “show:” this man should never have been presenting in a high school setting. 

Our already-exhausted 12th graders had the pleasure of sitting through an out-of-hand, poorly controlled presentation about emotions…and nothing more. 

Initially, our Head Editors of The Eagle’s Cry were under the presumption that the whole “feelings” segment was simply a gateway to a much deeper conversation. But, after much waiting, this deeper message failed to emerge. 

“How do you feel when you’re sad?”

“How do you feel when you’re happy?”

“What do you do when you’re sad?”

“What do you do when you’re happy?” 

A fairly elementary conversation stockpiled with boatloads of juvenile questions all posed to a crowd of 16, 17, and 18-year-olds. Maybe if our ages coincided with our grade level (12), we would have netted some benefit. 

In fact, after conversing with Principal Jantz, our editorial staff discovered that this assembly was originally for the freshmen. The only reason the other three grades got to watch it is because Mr. Birkenstock was available for the rest of the day. 

Now, perhaps this isn’t Adam’s fault. He was hired by the school to give a presentation, and he cooperated accordingly with whatever presentation and information he had. 

Something that is Adam’s fault, though, is the way in which he enabled the crowd to freely criticize and disrespect him. There was no attempt to quiet us down, or at the very least bring everyone back on topic. Students were speaking over him, and he didn’t seem to care. He even found it entertaining at times. 

Marnes Richemond, senior and friend to all, even claimed, “He lost the audience. I’d rather sit through two hours of David Flood’s speech than 15 minutes of Mr. Birkenstock’s.” 

Truly and utterly disappointing. Our Head Editors expected there to be some air of respect in the setting of a school assembly; regardless of the speaker and presentation. We heard it was even worse with the juniors in the afternoon.

Now, in Adam’s defense, we’re sure he was aware of who his presentation was really meant for, and in that case maybe he didn’t deem it necessary to force a group of young-adults to sit quietly and participate with praise.

Still, why didn’t any of the school’s administration do anything? I mean the auditorium was filled with intentionally-incorrect and sometimes inappropriate responses to Adam telling us things like: “if you’re: hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, H.A.L.T. and have a snack.” 

The setting was completely unprofessional… and even uncomfortable. 

Overall, a majority of the student body unanimously agreed the entirety of the assembly was extremely redundant. However, The Eagle’s Cry does not want to undermine the purpose of the presentation, so for that reason, we appreciate Adam for dealing with a handful of uninterested high schoolers. Also, we appreciate the administration for their attempt to bring awareness to mental health. During our conversation with Mr. Jantz, he profusely expressed, “Mental health is a priority here… there’s help if you need it.”

Nonetheless, we still criticize our school for thinking we would actually take something vital away from it.