Like in many schools, tradition has always been a part of Palo Alto High School. In recent years, however, Paly has begun to disregard its own traditions.
The school’s traditions — some more positive than others — include Streak Week, Freshman Friday, Egg Wars and Spirit Week. All but Spirit Week have been disregarded. However, one of the key components of Spirit Week was that the seniors always won.
Could this be the year that changes? Every year, students and administrators talk about making Spirit Week “fair” by counting points objectively rather than skewing the points in favor of the senior class. In the past, the system never changed and the senior class always won, regardless of how the points were supposedly tallied.
However, this may be the first year that the final tallies won’t support the senior class. Last year, the class of 2016 beat the class of 2015 in spirit points, which indicates that the seniors this year are in danger of losing Spirit Week. Already the junior class’s attendance at spirit meetings greatly outnumbers that of the seniors. Although all signs point to a junior victory in Spirit Week, the seniors should win it, as it is Paly tradition. Spirit Week is fun for everyone involved, but at the end of the day everyone should just accept a senior victory. This way, every class will have something to look forward to at the end of their high school careers and can leave Paly victorious.
Each Spirit Week at Paly builds up to a student’s senior Spirit Week, one that the seniors assume they will win. It is one of the high points of attending Paly for many students. The thrill of winning Spirit Week is an experience that sticks with students their whole lives, and is something that all students should get the chance to experience. It is unfair to take this opportunity away from an entire class. The current juniors and underclassmen will get their chance to win, but this year is the seniors’ year to bask in glory.
Not all traditions are good, but something as fun and lighthearted as consistent senior victories during Spirit Week is a tradition that should remain embedded in the Paly culture. Schools are places where students should be able to enjoy the school’s culture — something that develops over years. Paly, founded in 1898, has an extremely long, rich history. Senior victories during Spirit Week are an important part of Paly’s rich culture. Its traditions are key to its culture.
Paly has lost so many of its traditions over just the past few years that a recent alumnus might come back to visit and hardly recognize the school. Most high schools have some type of competition similar to our Spirit Week, but one of the things that has made Paly’s unique is that the seniors have always won. Let’s not add that to the list of lost traditions.