Grinding out the truths of the rumor mill

It all starts with just one whisper. By lunch, everyone knows, or thinks they know.

MAST Academy, while continuing to grow, remains a small school with a relatively large rumor pool. They range from new lunchroom items to outrageous and eccentric second jobs of MAST staff members.

While aspects of these rumors might be true, they are mainly the product of turning over tidbits of information and exchanging stories across the minds of multiple students.

A prime example would be Pre-Calculus teacher Dana Yancoskie. Yancoskie has been noted for her multiple talents, such as her artistic eye and ability to fix a car engine. When I had her class last year, she would always bring out her collections of unique items into her instruction. She once even took out a part of a car engine to help explain a mathematical topic.

These factors have caused MAST students to assume that Yancoskie has dabbled in the fine art of race-car driving in her free time.

I admit that I, at one point, believed this myself and for the longest time wanted to know more about my teacher’s seemingly “double life.”

“Ms. Yancoskie is not a race-car driver! Where on earth did you hear that?” English teacher Karen Sutton said in response when I asked her for confirmation of this rumor.

Yancoskie herself refers to this belief as a “perpetual campus legend.”

The Beacon has also been subject to these rumors. We published an article and conducted a poll regarding food trucks last year. Students thought this meant we would be getting the mobilized meal cars on campus, and blamed The Beacon when we attempted to quell the rumors.

The word “rumor” tends to have a negative connotation. It implies that what is being said is not only untrue, but hurtful to its subject. So far, the aforementioned topics have been harmless, only making the students who believe them (me included) seem foolish.

On the other hand, in my experience, our peers like to make things bigger than what they really are, just so things are more interesting. I feel as though they can get too involved in the lives of our classmates. I will hear my friends talking at lunch and saying things like, “Did you hear what so and so did this weekend? Can you believe them?” or “He/She started crying during class because they got a bad grade.” I sit there and listen, but part of me thinks to myself, if that’s not true, this is really going to make them feel bad.

Wandering eyes will stare. And they will not know why. And when they do eventually get wind of the rumor, it is too late and no one will believe them if they try and deny it.

When something is repeated enough, it can begin to be perceived as true. This is dangerous. We are not always aware of the power words hold.

We grew up being taught to repeat the famous mantra, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

While this is a beautiful theory, it is simply not reality. Words do hurt. Rumors should be kept to possible school events and things that are funny, interesting and, most importantly, harmless.

We will never stop talking, but we can control what we say.