The Demise of SHP

  • Isabella Jordan ’20

Throughout my time at SHP, the school has changed significantly. The campus physically changed with the addition of Campbell and the renovation of McGanney, which have made our campus even more impressive and attending SHP even more of a privilege. Yet, the culture and traditions seemed to have changed as well. And not for the better. 

When I was in middle school, going to watch the high school homecoming game was one of the most exciting days of the school year. There would be massive floats with bright backgrounds, vivid detail, and onstage actors. One year, the theme for the floats was boardgames. I remember seeing the Clue float with a murder scene and Monopoly had someone stuck in a jail. The floats would be pushed down the track and each grade would have a turn to perform a dance routine. It was marvellous. Everyone was captured by the creativity, spirit, and hard work displayed by the grades through their homecoming efforts for the seven years it was present. Yet, over time, homecoming disappeared. 

My sister’s freshman year, she went to the homecoming dance and got to build the float with her grade which allowed for some quality bonding time with her new classmates. My grade, the class of 2020, was the last grade to get a reintroduction to a different version of homecoming. The dance afterwards was the first to go. Then the floats minimized. Years prior, floats were huge and grades spent a lot of time to make a large, detailed structure. Yet, my grade only got to decorate our class letters as opposed to making an actual float. Next, there were no floats and no dance routines. The “lunchtime activities” were the last to go, which were activities during lunches the week of homecoming to get people excited throughout the week. This year, many people didn’t even know we had a homecoming game. For me, it’s sad to see how an event that was so loved has completely faded away. 

And many more events are in the same boat. The senior fashion show, a highlight of everyone’s senior year, ended two years ago. While the decision was made mutually between the parents’ association and the administration, students had relatively no say in the decision to eliminate the tradition. Spirit week lobbies were moved outside and were downsized. While this was largely due to construction, lobbies are likely to be moved permanently outside. In years prior, walking through a lobby while going to class or going into the gym was super exciting, but we can no longer experience that same excitement. This year, the senior privileges such as parking, are no longer exercised. I can’t help but wonder: what’s next? Prom? Spirit Week? How far will this trend go? There has been talk about possibly taking away Rock ‘n’ Jock in the near future, one of the most anticipated spirit week events. As a senior, I worry for the students to come that the school they will attend will no longer have the events and spirit that makes Sacred Heart so special. 

And while it may be extreme to make these claims, it is entirely possible. At the school down the street, the famous Knight School was taken away last year and replaced with a new program. Knight School was one week where students could participate in special programs and activities as opposed to attending normal classes. For example, students could go on scavenger hunts in the city or go hiking, etc. If you asked any Menlo kid, Knight School was the best part about that particular institution. I talked to some of the students who go there and they were completely devastated that their favorite tradition had been discontinued.

Thinking about our own campus, when will the things we love most be taken away? It might seem unlikely, but it grows more and more possible as the traditions slowly die out.

Photo by Private School Review

By Axel de Vernou

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