Tradition Tyranny

Students should be offered more traditions to make their high school experience unique

Most kids realize by the end of their freshman year that high school is nothing like the movies. Each teen flick we watched gave us an unachievable idea of what our high school lives should look like. And at MN, we lack the high school traditions predominantly glamorized in the movies. 

MN lacks traditions like voting on students for school royalty, recognizing high-achieving students for valedictorian, and creating senior quotes. School royalty and senior quotes are a school decision, but valedictorians were changed many years ago from the Millard school district. 

There can be issues with awarding prom king and queen that may cause some students’ feelings to be hurt. According to Principal Aaron Bearinger, in past years students have been voted for as a popularity contest and it has been difficult to make fair.  But as students, we don’t have to take the competition too seriously, if the voting is just for fun then it’s a great opportunity for spirited students to be recognized. 

“I was voted most school spirited when I was in high school and I want our students to be engaged in our school.  However, I think we need to go about our business in the right way, which is creating a welcoming and positive school for all students.  I will always listen to new ideas,” Bearinger said. 

The school also does not nominate a valedictorian. While many students excel in academics, there are also plenty of students who deserve to be recognized above others and receive this title. According to Bearinger, valedictorians would cause concern as students would compete for highest class rank. There’s a worry that students would take unnecessary classes to boost their ranks. While this is understandable, it seems unfair that the title is taken away completely. There are many well-deserving students in the school, so it is unfortunate that there is no valedictorian. 

A lack of school traditions means that there is no competition or title that is awarded to students. Voting on traditions like school royalty would give students the opportunity to recognize their peers they feel are most deserving. At MN we have never experienced school royalty, but for other schools it is an exciting part of their prom or homecoming night. It would also encourage students to stay at these dances longer as they wait for the royalty to be announced. 

Additionally, while the school used to offer senior quotes, they are no longer being printed in the yearbook as of two years ago. It became too tedious for faculty to read through the quotes and decipher what was inappropriate. Since it became difficult for faculty to control what seniors were saying, they decided to get rid of senior quotes all together.

“Senior quotes started to become more about what could be said subliminally and less about the intended purpose,” principal Aaron Bearinger said. “Perhaps, we could have a compromise and a sport or activity could submit one collective quote, but even that puts work on the coach or sponsor to make sure it is appropriate.”

It’s understandable that the school would not want to be responsible for publishing inappropriate content, but it gives the impression that censoring students is more important than letting them share their ideas and be creative. 

In all, school traditions unify students. It gives the student body something to talk about and it is important to make school enjoyable to keep students engaged. While our school lacks traditions and needs to further develop the ones we still have, the school’s reluctance is understandable as there can be some downsides. 

But most importantly, there should be more for students to look forward to or take an interest in at school beyond just learning. And while school traditions may cause some competition, they also inspire students to become more spirited and result in a more unified student body.