Let’s Earn our Traditions

How do we know what we know? This question is discussed around every Harkness table, investigated by each proof of a mathematical theorem, and evaluated in conclusions written for labs. It is one of the essential questions ingrained during Prep and Lower Mid Humanities. As students at Hotchkiss, we have always been taught to question knowledge: where does it come from? How do we come to accept it as truth? 

But what about outside of the classroom? During Orientation, all new students are taught long-standing school traditions. Don’t walk through the middle doors. Only Seniors can step on Senior Grass. Touch the bearcat in the MAC on your way to practice. These traditions connect us to the thousands of students who have walked through these doors before us. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic completely disrupted our way of life, we followed these practices blindly because they were already embedded into our everyday lives. 

When the student body left campus in March of 2020, we took our traditions with us. The turmoil of the past year-and-a-half has left us with a blank page. Thus, it is our responsibility to re-evaluate our traditions: where do they come from, and should we continue to uphold them? 

In the survey we sent out to the school, there were mixed sentiments towards the role seniority should have on campus. Some responses were positive: many students, not just Seniors, are attached to the tradition of seniority. But, several responses suggested that members of the Senior class are abusing this tradition.  

There is no right answer in this debate: these Senior spaces bring us together and give lowerclass students something to look forward to, but, at the same time, some Seniors take the enforcement of traditions too far. 

Seniors, if you choose to follow and to enforce these traditions, we ask that you do so respectfully. Most of us have waited four years to sit at Senior tables, to step onto Senior Grass, and to lead the school out of all-school meetings. Let us be worthy of these privileges.

Upper Mids, Lower Mids, and Preps: we hope that you choose to follow these long-standing traditions. While it is not our right to force you to conform to these social norms, we will strive to be deserving of your respect.