Academics, Athletics, Arts: What Defines Bingham?


Photo by Chloe Bauer

A Bingham athlete kicks off a play in another thrilling Bingham High football game. Do you think athletics are the champion of our school?

I remember walking into Bingham High School on my first day of sophomore year. Books in hand and a pencil tucked behind my ear, I ventured into the vast hallways and was instantly bombarded with all kinds of different posters occupying the walls. The Theatre Company was planning a fundraiser, it wasn’t too late to sign up for the National Honors Society, the football team had a game against our rival school, and more. It seemed to me that just about everything was housed between these walls. Ask a hundred Bingham students what their favorite part of school is and you’ll get a hundred different answers. From the performing arts to the Dinosaur Club, there are endless activities and opportunities offered at our school. It can be difficult to determine where our school as a whole fits in. What defines us and makes us Bingham High? Is it academics, the arts, or athletics?

When most people think of school, they immediately associate it with—of course—education. Academics make up a large portion of our campus culture, with a 98.3% graduation rate and 52 distinct AP and concurrent enrollment classes, according to the Bingham website. Additionally, our students were awarded over $7,000,000 in scholarship money in the last year. We also offer a plethora of test prep programs and academic after-school activities. Despite the school’s best efforts, we still have a long way to go before we reach the ideal academic position: we are 61st on US News: A World Report’s academic ranking of every high school in Utah. We may not be number one, but in the end, our commitment to academic prowess is still proudly celebrated in Bingham’s mission statement: “Bingham High School is dedicated to the learning and academic growth of each student.”

The arts are considered by many to be a quintessential part of the high school experience. Whether students are expressing themselves through painting or participating in the annual school musical, there are numerous arts programs for the students here at Bingham. Both visual and performing arts are readily available through classes and clubs, including 31 performing arts groups open to students. However, they can sometimes be overshadowed by other programs. “The arts [are] under-appreciated,” says Bingham Theatre Company Senior Rep Jaxson Player. With the pride associated with activities such as sports, it’s easy for Bingham artisans to feel as though their favorite pastime is screaming just to be heard. Despite this, those who participate in Bingham’s arts programs are fiercely loyal. Theatre Company Junior Rep Carter Jensen explains that everyone involved in the Company is passionate about what they do and want the best for the program. While this leads to some stress and conflict, it shows how devoted students are to their arts. Is that enough to make arts the focus of our school?

Of course, no high school culture is complete without the excitement and spirit of school athletics. The roaring of fans echoing through the bleachers, cheerleaders shouting and shaking their pom poms, the glow of the scoreboard as the team fights its way to victory—it’s easy to get thrilled about high school sports. They aren’t taken lightly either, by students or staff. Bingham High school’s head football coach, David Peck, certainly agrees. “I think athletics have always been a priority,” he says. “There’s a high expectation and a lot of work that goes into being successful.” He goes on to explain that one of the most important components of school athletics is the sense of tradition and respect to the students that came before them. The spirit of competition has always been strong in the Bingham halls, and we work to keep that alive. However, not every aspect of our athletics system is a home run. Peck elaborated, “One of our weaknesses is that our facility sometimes doesn’t have enough space…Programs are so big and so many kids participate.” Nevertheless, based on the hype received from the students and the attention given to athletics through tradition and school spirit, it’s safe to say that our school has a significant affinity for getting our head in the game.

Bingham’s campus culture focuses heavily on academics, arts, and athletics. But the question still remains: which one is the most consequential? Which activity defines who we are as a school and contributes the most to our community? The answer is clear: Athletics is what defines us. Our school has gone sports-crazy, and for good reason, too. Bingham’s school pride is so heavily associated with our performance on the field. The student body never fails to bring their school spirit to every game, and there is so much student participation that we are running out of room! Photos of All-Star Miner athletes can even be found on posters around the field. As a collective school community, we appreciate athletics and consider it to be an indispensable aspect of our high school experience. Nonetheless, what truly sets us apart from the others is the pride we have for our school and our unwavering belief that the Bingham Miners rule!