By Abby Lass and Ruslan Crosby
During the senior class meeting at the beginning of the year, the administration gave us the same speech that I’m sure they give to each new batch of upperclassmen: you are now the oldest students in the school; it is your responsibility to set the tone for what it means to be a conscientious, compassionate, and spirited member of this community.
The experience of being a senior is full of requests like this— to improve ourselves in the name of our community and to insure that our legacy is one filled with pride and unity. In a way, our final year of high school is set up like a trial run for adulthood. One crucial element that seems to be missing from this “adult” experience, however, is a willingness on the part of the real adults in our lives to let us fail. This manifests itself in a variety of ways, from academic excellence to artistic and athletic brilliance, but, most recently, this gap has appeared in the form of the annual Thanksgiving Pep Rally.
In an attempt to combat the resurgence of past behaviors that have been seen by some as a blot on the tradition, Principal Stembridge announced on Monday that students would not be permitted to enter the building before 7:15 in the morning on Wednesday. Once in the building, juniors and seniors would be forbidden from congregating in large groups and making too much noise.
Not only are these new regulations inconvenient— are students who arrive early because they take the bus expected to wait outside until the agreed upon time?— they also come across as an uncomfortable cushion against actions that will not necessarily transpire.
I am the first to admit that high schoolers have the capacity to get rowdy at these kinds of events. It’s no secret that sometimes, in our attempt to express our passion for our programs, we go a bit overboard. While I don’t condone this behavior, I do believe that it, in part, stems from our commitment to fulfill the task assigned to us at the beginning of the year.
Because after four years at this school, it’s safe to assume that the majority of us know how it feels to be marginalized. We understand the hurt that comes with not feeling recognized by our community and the frustrations we experience when our efforts to create connections are misconstrued. No matter what traditions we honor and which we cast aside, I truly believe that unity is everyone’s endgame– both for the staff and for the students. All anyone wants is to create an event in which everyone at this school feels honored and appreciated. And like any true proponent of diversity will tell you, the only way to create this event is if we listen to viewpoints different from our own.
So to the grownups who doubt the classes of 2017 and 2018, I understand your apprehension. May I remind you, however, that only two months ago you enlisted our help to work with you, ostensibly as equals, to make this school a better place. All we can ask of you now is that you give us a genuine chance to do so.