by Abbi Berry
Public Relations Manager
Tension between the two sides grows as yet another issue arises among the student body and administration. Both parties fight to improve an aspect of the school, but the ultimate decision leaves the student body feeling unheard and disappointed. The students of LGHS are willing to contribute conversations regarding topical issues at the high school, however the students often feel overlooked by the administration.
At the beginning of this year, Principal Grasty announced to the senior class that this year at graduation, LGHS would break the tradition of black and white gowns, and everyone would walk in black gowns instead. It was evident that students were not happy with this break in tradition, but rather than anticipate this upset with a conversation, the administration initiated the conversation with an abrupt declaration.
A few weeks later, all LGHS parents and students received an email stating that the spirit rally will take place on Helm Field rather than in its traditional venue of the Large Gym. The only statement in anticipation of an upset was, “All efforts will be made to preserve the quality and enjoyment of this tradition,” but the administration gave no real answers as to how this would be done.
The argument for a uniformity in gowns comes from the ideal of equity across the student body; whether it be breaking gender boundaries or simply unifying the class at graduation, the transition originates from a desire for positive outcome. Additionally, the use of the football field rather than the gym for rallies is so every student has the same, safe opportunity to participate as our student body continues to grow.
However, the opposing argument derives from the same ideals – students have watched every class graduate before them in black and white gowns and have witnessed every senior class win the rally in the gym and celebrate under a balloon drop. In the past, every student has been able to walk into the packed gym, surrounded by loud music and excited peers. We understand the need for a new location, however students are greatly concerned with the new environment lacking that same exciting atmosphere as before. The quest for equality is a double-edged sword.
Each time a problem arises that could potentially upset students, the administration disguises the easy way out as something in everyone’s best interest. But oftentimes a consistent flow of communication between the administration and students is truly in the best interest for everyone. Right now there is huge disconnect between the two parties. The student body is upset with the fact that there are no adequate answers, no compromise, and no efforts for a discussion to rectify these new changes. We understand the desire for uniform gowns and the pressing issues that arise with a constantly growing student body. However, a better stream of communication will create a positive change for the school as it has in the past.
In the past, suggestions and input by the student body have benefitted LGHS. Last year, for example, students advocated for a larger student section at football games to promote a safer and more inclusive experience. This suggestion brought about a positive change in which the school opted to expand the student section, allowing more people to participate safely and comfortably at school events. The students have proven they can contribute to problems the school faces by establishing feasible solutions. Let us continue to be a part of that conversation.
If LGHS chooses to discontinue the practice of wearing black and white gowns, we should be able to create a new tradition. In past years graduates couldn’t decorate their graduation caps with symbols of their future, the argument being that cap decorations would compromise the aesthetic of the overhead checkerboard picture. Now that we no longer have a “checkerboard” with the use of only black gowns, what is stopping us from creating a new tradition, one where we can celebrate our achievements as a unified class? Promote the loss of one tradition with the creation of a new one; allow the students to decorate our caps with college logos or some kind of symbol representing our future.
There are also a variety of alternatives for the spirit rally in the LGHS gym. Fisher Middle School recently rebuilt their gym, which has a larger capacity than the LGHS gym. We could have the rally at Fisher and rent buses to transport students. Additionally, Archbishop Mitty rents out the San Jose Civic Center for their spring night rally to accommodate their student body. And if the school sticks with the field location, leadership could organize a glow rally at night. Many high schools across the country organize a color war celebration to conclude their rallies, showering the students in the colored cornstarch packets often used at color runs. Students are most concerned with a loss of tradition, so why not work together to establish a new one?
Both the administration and student body want to improve LGHS and the experience we have as a cohesive group. Let’s settle this tension between two groups that have identical purposes and try to have more conversations. Let’s open the floor up for proactive discourse and work together to truly make this a culture worth belonging to.