by Sophie Weyn
Since before Kindergarten, I’ve been at HB. I’ve seen the traditions such as Ideo day play out for years and years. As a kid in the prime, I used to watch the high schoolers process through the halls before the seniors, admiring them and watching them with my eyes. In middle school, I learned the Ideo song word for word, as I had had more experience. Once I entered high school, I began to see just how important the day is to the graduating class. Its one of the last functions that is held for the whole school, seeing everyone unite together, in the time of holidays, giving thanks, and celebrating with those who you love. No matter what holiday you celebrate, or what religion you practice, the day before winter break is a day spent with your HB family.
I respect the fact that HB does not force participation in the procession of the Ideo song, or even the celebration in the gym after the song has been sung. I think it is important for every student to feel comfortable, and if you are most comfortable not singing the song, because it has a Catholic derivation, then that should be supported. However, personally, I was very upset when the day was renamed from “Ideo Day” to “Winter Fest”.
I think HB does the best job possible in being an inclusive community. It is hard to find a student that doesn’t feel comfortable in this space. I admire that about this school. However, there is a line between making sure no one is excluded and reversing tradition. Since I was four, I knew somehow that this day was of great importance, and I couldn’t wait until I got to experience it myself. From my understanding, the name was changed to “Winter Fest” to try and eliminate the term “Ideo” because it was suggesting a dominance of one religion and that isn’t what HB embodies. But to me, HB has done plenty to provide alternative options if you don’t want to sing the song. You can simply walk through the halls and not sing if you don’t want to. I was thinking to myself, “at what point are we going to stop changing tradition, if it is so important to our alumnae and our current students?”
I was so happy when Dr. Bisselle held an assembly last week telling us she was changing Winter Fest back to calling it Ideo Day. I really respect her decision to reinstate the name, because at the end of the day I do think it was affecting a lot of people. I also respect her decision to eliminate the lyrics and just play the instrumental as we walk to the gym. I think she’s done a great job of finding a new compromise- one that keeps the student body feeling connected to our school’s tradition while recognizing the diverse group of girls we are.