Identity Through Tradition

By Isabel Weil

As we sit on the itchy carpet, and primary schoolers tug at our shirts and loose locks of hair, we wonder why we still have to do this. Legacy day was created for the school to bond, but many feel the experience has veered from that goal. Many comment that Legacy day “feels too forced”, while others add that it feels like “babysitting”. However, fun dances and Instagram videos have improved the day for older students.

HB also has established several other traditions over the past 137 years, some successful, and some, well, not so much. Ideo, Brown and Gold Day, the Thanksgiving assembly, the Halloween Costume Contest, wearing white dresses at graduation, Carnival, and Taal are just a few of these traditions. Ideo was an especially popular tradition among those in the Upper School according to a recent survey; before heading off on our separate ways for the holidays, we get to gather together and appreciate each other, as well as what we have accomplished in the first few months of school. The music, the procession, the poem by Mr. Christ, are all very touching actions that remind us how lucky we are to be in this community. Moreover, the assembly brings back flocks of graduates and parents alike to experience a nostalgic sense of warmth and community.

So what’s the difference between Ideo and Legacy day that makes the first so enjoyable and the latter less popular? Perhaps it is the length of the tradition, as Legacy day has only existed for about 4 years, while Ideo has persisted over multiple generations. Or maybe it could be the way in which the school gathers together. Both of the traditions aim to unite the community, but in different ways. By walking through the halls together, side-by-side with our classmates, singing the same song that has been sung for generations, we not only unite the whole school, but also, we feel the presence of those who preceded us and marched anxiously through the halls on a cold December day just like us, decades ago. Legacy day requires more conversing and separated small group work, which is not as cohesive as Ideo. Perhaps in these explanations lie the success to certain HB traditions; those that gather the whole school or a whole age group, such as Ideo, the Senior Retreat, the Halloween costume contest, are most successful because we feel like we all have something in common, whether it be being a piece of the puzzle that is HB, or being a 17-year old.

Whether we enjoy them or not, all of these traditions have helped shape the HB identity, and new ones will rise to add to this image. Interesting suggestions have included Pajama Friday, retreats for every grade, not just seniors, and high school class trips.  What do you think?