Tuned In 2012: Clearing Up The Static


Part of the Tuned In performance discussed Community’s rejection of stereotypical labels

Tuned In performers take turns telling personal stories about peer pressure.

“Look to your right,” Community High School Dean Jen Hein called into the sea of eighth graders that filled the Craft Theater. “Look to your left — no, your other left. Look behind you. These are your classmates for the next four years.”

Community High’s future class of 2016 was called to the school on March 1 for a brief orientation, which featured Tuned In, a student performance debunking various myths about Community and singing its praises.

The performance had three scenes. In the first, a humorous skit called “Community High for the Normal Guy,” an incoming freshman tries out various cliques, only to learn that labels are limiting and she should embrace herself. Next, switching to a more serious tone, students recited vignettes about peer pressure based on real accounts. Finally, the group gathered onstage to perform a rap about Community’s varied selection of extracurricular activities.

According to Robbie Stapleton, Tuned In has been a tradition at Community for several years. Originally, the group did four performances a year about various issues they saw as relevant to teens, but in recent years they have been forced to cut back to one performance for the incoming freshmen, as each performance requires a month’s worth of forum time to prepare.

Tuned In is mostly composed of students from Robbie’s forum, although there are always exceptions. Not all  Stapleton Forumettes choose to join Tuned In, while some students from outside the forum do. According to CHS sophomore Sofia Fall, a member of the forum, Stapleton accepts the students’ decisions about Tuned In.

“[Stapleton] doesn’t make anyone [participate] who doesn’t want to,” said Fall,  who acted in the second scene of the performance. “But we all want to.”

“It’s really fun,” Fall added.

Part of the Tuned In performance discussed Community’s rejection of stereotypical labels.

Fall has the same attitude about the script for the performance, which hasn’t changed much since it was first introduced. The second scene’s vignettes are based on real stories, but as time passes, the poignant stories could become increasingly irrelevant to eighth graders.

For now, though, the script stays mostly the same. “We could change it if we want to, but we like the way it is,” Fall said. Stapleton agreed, asserting that students are encouraged to change the script to make it more personally applicable to the current generation.

Either way, it seems that the current script and performance are working well. Most of the eighth graders at the orientation event had good things to say about Tuned In’s performance.

“I thought that it was a pretty good combination of information and wittiness,” said one of the incoming freshmen.

“I really liked how it addressed issues,” agreed another.

When asked, all of the eighth graders agreed that they wanted to return to Community next year as freshmen.

“The kids are really nice — the teachers are, too. They let you really choose what you want to do with your curriculum…I like it,” stated one of the future freshmen.

“If people drop out, I will get in,” said another student, number 122 in the lottery. “And if I get an opportunity to get in, I will take it.”

There’s no way of telling if these positive responses are a direct result of the Stapleton Forum’s efforts, or if the eighth graders in question were already inclined towards coming to Community. After all, if they applied to go here, they must have liked something about the school. But either way, Community and the Tuned In must be doing something right.