The Homecoming pep rallies at Duxbury High School are in a downward spiral. The once rowdy celebration for our homecoming weekend has simmered down to a mild assembly. Our chants are tuned out by blaring music, our grades are separated, and our right to elect the homecoming court has been revoked. Why the sudden need for change?
The “Sit down freshmen” chant has been an annual tradition at DHS since at least 2003. Classes have come in and out of the school, first enduring the chants, then joining in enthusiastically the next three years. When the chants break out they echo throughout the gym. Seniors are laughing and freshmen are smiling because this is the first real moment that students realize that they are part of the student body. The teachers and administration argue now that this is hazing, but if it is in fact hazing why has it been allowed the past ten years? I wonder if the sudden pep rally restrictions are truly necessary or if it is simply a sign that the school has become increasingly scared of scandal.
The homecoming court has been a tradition dating back ten or more years. The freshmen to junior homecoming princes and princess are almost always friendly jokes that the winners take with an accomplished and slightly embarrassed smile. Students are always able to request not to win if they do not feel comfortable with the vote. As the class president, at least one couple or person asks me to please throw out any votes for them every year. These requests have always been honored and the votes are revoked, no questions asked. Regardless, even if a student did not ask to be taken off the ballot, Duxbury is a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business and if something were going to be too harsh or too mean the students counting the votes would have them removed. There are ways to prevent hazing and scandal without completely altering a tradition of that has been intact for over a decade.
The new homecoming pep rally has zero pep. We all just sit there. Seniors are no longer allowed to sit together, which used to create a unified wave of black senior shirts in the senior bleachers, the freshman are no longer able to look forward to joining in on the “Sit down freshmen” chant the following year, and most importantly we are not having fun like we use to. I respect any administrator’s decision to alter pep rallies, and by association alter tradition, but I just do not understand why it is necessary now. Maybe it is a fear for sudden scandal, or maybe classes have just become increasingly sensitive over the past ten years. Either way we have to adjust because it does not seem like our pep-filled rallies will be back anytime soon.