What AP Lang Students are Saying About Tradition:
November 2, 2022
“I am a new Glenbard West transfer student. It is my junior year and this is the 3rd highschool I’ve attended in my highschool career. When it comes to going to new schools I can confidently exclaim that I’ve been around the block. From extravagant courtyards and quaint classrooms to brutalist inspired concrete walls and dusty windows I have seen it all. Yet, I was not prepared for the mighty presence Glenbard West imposes on its students. So, when I first arrived upon circle drive, on that hill which was both majestic and unexpectedly enormous, walking through the brick and mortar walls the first thing I learned about Glenbard West was tradition. When I sat down in room 425 surrounded by my peers, transferees weary and anxious bearing the weight of having to somehow survive 11th grade at a new school, I was amazed by a video detailing Glenbard West’s extensive history dating back for 100 years. That short informational video captivated my interest for a school that was unlike all the others. Every step you take at Glenbard West you are reminded of its history and its traditions. In the windows there are stained glass pieces of art each donated through the contributions of hundreds of kids. In the classrooms each wall has been standing for centuries, outlasting the lives of its first inhabitants. In the halls rest murals depicting the creativity of generations and generations of students. The building represents a tradition of cultivating not just arbitrary numbers to be meticulously placed on college apps but cultivating a culture that welcomes and values the eccentricities of the individual. Speaking of individuals, students of Glenbard West have honored the motto of “Pride, Tradition and Excellence” in a way few other student bodies could ever hope to replicate. For example when I heard about a memorial erected in honor of students, kids drafted into war not even of age able to vote, who fought and fell in times of war I was moved by their unwavering determination. How many schools can claim that it has students who were so driven that they fought and died to preserve liberty and freedom in the world? How many schools memorialize these students forever, recognizing their incredible sacrifice? All I can say is that not many schools have gone the extra mile Glenbard West has to demonstrate just how important every single one of these kids are to Glenbard West’s history. Even now the tradition of taking pride in students is still creating changes in our school. We celebrate heritage months and take pride in students of all races, genders and orientations. Glenbard West takes pride in its students and I take pride in going to Glenbard West.”
Boaz Lee, Junior
“As far as traditions go, one of the most crucial to Glenbard West’s history is that of sports. With 17 state championship titles and more on the way, it is evident that our school has valued athletic achievement from the beginning. And it is not without reason, too. Sports have an unparalleled amount of benefits, from bringing people together as a community to improving the mental health of teens today. According to a 2007 study in publicschoolreview.com, students who participate in sports have a higher average GPA of 2.84, when compared to the non-athlete average of 2.86. This is due to the fact that “the strong, collaborative environment offered through high school athletics programs can … give students the tools necessary to succeed in academics and athletics at the next level” (The Friends’ Central School Blog, 6 Benefits of Participating in High School Sports).
In my personal experience, running on the girls cross country team has improved my life in so many ways. From forming lifelong friendships to learning the true value of hard work, I owe much of who I am today to that sport. I know that I, as well as many of my teammates, am incredibly grateful to be given these opportunities. However, it is important to realize that not everybody gets to participate in such activities, so they should never be taken for granted. Just like how one small injury can knock someone out for their entire season, women’s sports are not as concrete as they may appear. Even though Glenbard West and its sports have been around for 100 years, almost no women athletic team can claim to have been around for more than fifty. Thanks to Title IX, which gave women equality in sports, an even greater percentage of the student body can now reap the benefits which sports provide.
Overall, sports have an undoubtedly great value at Glenbard West. With the endless awards hanging around Biester gym, and the immense quality and quantity of athletic facilities located around the campus, it is almost impossible for an onlooker not to notice our extreme dedication to athleticism. However, what comes with these achievements is a rich history of changing tradition over and over again. Title IX was just the beginning, as sports today are still growing to become more inclusive of all. Although our sports programs are not the same as they were 100 years ago, any athlete should be proud to call themselves a member of the Glenbard West team.”
Greta Millar, Junior
“Glenbard West has many valuable traditions. Having tradition, the handing down of customs, creates a sense of community and identity for students and staff. Traditions both enhance the value of school and bring people together. As a student and member of clubs and athletics at Glenbard West, I’m proud to be a part of a school with so many opportunities for involvement formed by previous generations to include students and show the positive value of tradition. Students and staff can see the inclusive environment and unique identities that have traditionally existed since the beginning of the school. I believe that upholding traditions at Glenbard West, and in general, has a positive value and impact on people. A huge tradition across many schools is the emphasis on sports, specifically football. At Glenbard West, we all know that the football team is very prominent and full of tradition. While some may argue that we should incorporate other sports into the traditional significance of football, the culture and community in Glen Ellyn created by football is remarkable.
Looking back on 100 years of Glenbard West, The GlenBard newspaper highlights some traditions rooting back to as early as 1929. The football team had “rivals such as York” and coaches such as William Duchon and Fred L. Biester, familiar names to us now. Beyond that, the team’s original grass field remains today, with a traditional scoreboard and the same community of fans. While I sometimes wish we had Friday night home games, Glenbard West chooses to uphold tradition, allowing not just students, but residents of the town to come together on a Saturday afternoon and support the football program. Tradition is rooted in the past, branching out further as it grows over time. Preserving tradition doesn’t mean conforming completely to the past, but shaping the values of it to give us a community.
Furthermore, preserving tradition creates a sense of belongingness for young adult students, as they are developing their own identities. A National Geographic article describes the cultural traditions of old native societies and the impacts it has. Native Hawaiians had traditions of storytelling that were
“not only entertaining, but they also taught the next generation about behavior, value, and traditions”. The native people are guided by the beliefs and customs of their ancestors to be able to branch out from there. Similarly, We observe the norms of football, like having underclassmen in the top of the
stands or seeing alumni and community members cheer on the team from outside the gates, learning customs of previous generations of students. While football game chants may not be shaping our future identities, the ability to adopt previous beliefs and traditions before discovering your own is crucial.
Tradition gives students something to turn to and shape them before they go on to life afterward.
While football is a relevant example, similar tradition at Glenbard West is present in its many clubs and activities. Critics of the value of tradition may argue that it is solely an impediment to the future. However, tradition at Glenbard West, especially seen through the football program, establishes a
community for everyone and shapes a future identity by providing basic values to build upon.”
Audrey Sawyer, Junior
“From the moment you hike up circle drive and enter into the “castle” it is apparent Glenbard West is a unique school. Whether you’re striding from basement to basement, winding down the stairs leading from the tower after an English class, or likely fighting your way through the stream of students filling the halls every passing period, you cannot help but admire our prestigious school. Pride. Tradition. Excellence. Students fortunate enough to attend West are held to both high academic and behavioral standards. But are the traditions that have been upheld here over the past century still beneficial in modern day? Or do they need updating like the wobbly “chairs” of the cafeteria? Many traditions remain timeless and beloved, and add a lot to our school.
Glenbard West administrators and staff have traditionally held students to high academic standards. Students are encouraged to take courses that challenge them, engage in class, and put forth their best academic efforts. According to a report by U.S. News, the A.P. participation rate at Glenbard West is 71%. They also report Glenbard West is ranked #27th of Illinois high schools and #671 nationally based on performance on state-required tests, graduation rates, and college preparedness. (An impressive statistic when you consider there are 20,000+ high schools in the U.S.). Beyond that, students are traditionally held to certain behavioral standards. Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are permitted to leave campus for lunch but are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects West’s values. Signs adorn the halls and walls of Biester, lauding the importance of good sportsmanship and reminding students of the power of being on a team. Students are directed to be self advocates, communicate with their teachers, and demonstrate respect to all other students and staff. School spirit also remains alive at West through traditions such as various pep rallies, spirit weeks, and the awe-inspiring bonfire before Homecoming. Who doesn’t love coming to school in their pajamas or favorite beach-day outfit? Even some teachers enjoy participating. Furthermore, many of the sports teams, clubs, and activities at West hold their own valued traditions. For example, the girls cross country team runs two workouts a season on the formidable hill at Blackwell Forest Preserve. On the second occasion, after struggling together to run
up and down the hill, the team ends up at the top. We form a circle and one by one, each senior delivers their senior speech, sharing their experiences with and advice about the team. A bittersweet wave of emotion buried itself in my chest as I reflected on everything I have both given and received from being a part of this team as I listened to the speeches. Before long, the seniors began rolling down the hill to complete a tradition I am excited to continue my senior year. Friends have expressed how their activities have similar cherished traditions.
It is evident that there is value in upholding many of West’s traditions as they lead to a myriad of esteemed elements of our school: rigorous academics, respectful behavior, school spirit, and beloved memories of and experiences from student clubs and teams.”
Maggie Hibbard, Junior
“What’s up with traditions? Are they worth the hassle of upholding or should we ditch them? Of course, whether they be cultural, familial, societal, (you name it, really), traditions are important, representing pieces of the past that we immortalize annually to stay rooted to our beginnings and what we hold dear. There are soooo many, particularly national holidays: Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Many of these days, specifically unique ones like Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, are times of fellowship, remembrance, and celebration of the past that bring you and your fellow Americans closer together and strike a chord within everyone. Good, right? What about the lesser, more situational and local traditions, though? For instance, our school’s homecoming bonfire in memory of when this place used to have wood flooring and, well, burned because of it (how meaningful!).
In all seriousness, though, I think it is a nice, unique touch to this school and its history (as if said school, strangely resembling a castle and being situated on a hilltop in a citadel-esque situation wasn’t unique enough). Traditions that ultimately bring unity and have value are what I live for, even if they’re not incredibly serious, sentimental, or widespread. Traditions like these at Glenbard West are ones I believe are worth upholding and celebrating annually.
Truth be told, however, I can’t think of many other traditions this school has (and I’m a junior!). I mean, I only discovered the existence of said bonfire tradition a month ago (that’s probably a ‘me’ issue, but you get the point)! If anything, I wish this highschool made its traditions even more apparent so we could all celebrate this amazing place we call our academic home! It’s very important to not get swept away in today’s modern and swift living, where we do not take much time to look back on the past because, well, we’re always moving forward into the future. Not only this, but just because this year marks the centennial of this place’s founding doesn’t mean this should be the only year we recognize its past and traditions (again, though, where are the other traditions? Am I just going blind?).
And, I might add, not all traditions are the best to uphold, at least in my opinion. For example, is hazing really the best way to welcome the noobie to the job/team? And (hot take incoming!), similarly, should we really be bullying the freshmen to death for their lack of experience, which isn’t even their fault? These kinds of traditions will never go away, but maybe it would be good if they did. Or maybe I’m just too nice. I digress.
Overall, traditions are totally cool! They bring unity from people who could otherwise be in disunity, give us a moment to acknowledge the past, and more often than not supply us with great food! Though some are more central and serious than others, traditions are valuable to our worldwide culture today and likewise our local, home culture at school. Let’s keep them coming at West, this year and all the others to come!”
Heide Brazier, Junior
Pride. Tradition. Excellence. Is that what our teachers, parents, and schools are expecting of “we” as students? To take pride in our accomplishments, excel in every subject and sport, and follow century-year-old traditions. It’s ridiculous and unrealistic. Not only does the motto pressure student to constantly get A’s, but it pushes kids into a reality where success is the only option, and failing is discerned as shameful.
As a junior at Glenbard West, I understand the anxiety that comes from high expectations, not only from parents and teachers but ourselves as students. Schools and teachers are willing to praise or award people who receive outstanding academic grades, which should be remarked on, but fail to acknowledge students who, despite not outshining their subject or grade, improve incredibly through their perseverance. “We” students dismiss minor achievements with, “try harder or study more,” and rarely do we recognize the progress that’s being made. This year in Pre Calc’s, our teacher awards stickers and enters us into a raffle, only if we get %100 on a test or quiz. Not going to lie, I found just that one affirmation in the form of a sticker to be extremely gratifying. Think about if they did that every time someone improved rather than just ace a test. Not only would it boost the self-esteem of an individual, but it would motivate students to keep trying. Excellence is defined as, “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good”(Oxford Dictionary). Parents and teachers do you want that to be 1⁄3 of our school motto, moreover the value of our student, or do we want perseverance which means,” persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success,”(Oxford Dictionary) to be the center focus of education.
Tradition. It’s special to continue a ritual, or value the culture that was once held important. Take American football, for instance, Glenbard West prioritizes attending a football game more than going to a girl’s soccer game because well…It’s the American game, that happened to be the one hit America had during the 1920s. Times have changed and America has watched diversity and equality move forward with society, so prioritizing other sports or distinct forms of arts such as dance, drawing, and music should not be under-appreciated at our school. When the leaves change in the fall, humans shift from wearing shorts to pants, or else they’ll be cold. The same thing goes for our rules, values, and rituals. If we continue with the century-year-old traditions we’ll be insensitive to the new culture, eventually frivolous to be forgotten.
It’s critical that we take pride in our school. We should be proud of our sports teams, academics, and history of Hilltoppers, but if one thing’s for sure there’s no need to rub it in. Yes, we should have school spirit but at times it’s just excessive boasting. Even just the mere fact of promoting Pride is too prideful. I’m not saying being proud of our school is wrong, I’m practically addressing the desire to rewrite the word to appropriately fit a school atmosphere in order to be more promising to students, such as the word Community. Community is a word that doesn’t hold a grudge against students who may not be participating in school events, yet however still encourages students to still form a group of people who share “common attitudes, interests, and goals” (Oxford Dictionary).
PDC. What the motto of Glenbard West should be? Perseverance. Diversity. Community. Parents isn’t that what students need to hear to be inspired and construct their foundation of morals? Teachers isn’t that a better direction for facilitating a realistic approach to life and school? Finally, students, that is the motto that we must embrace in order to adapt to the 21 century and carry with us to our careers and lives.
Haiyan Tanner, Junior
“The value of upholding the tradition of school sports at Glenbard West is massive in order to continue improving student life throughout everyone’s high school career. I am expressing the importance of sports as a highly committed athlete myself. I run cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and track in spring, and have been doing so for the past two years. There are many things I’ve learned when it comes to the balance of school and sport, and I’m positive others involved in sports at West can attest to the claims I am preparing to make.
To begin, I wanted to talk about my first few days of sophomore year. Due to Covid, my freshman year was a bit non-existent, so the thought of going in for a full day of school after sitting in my room on a computer for a year terrified me. Not to say it was a bad start to the school year, but I remember being absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. One might think the last thing I would want to do is go out for a run, but practice was actually all I could think about when school got tough. I wanted to be with my friends, doing something familiar that we all enjoy. To this day I would confirm that my after school practice is sometimes the thing I am looking forward to the most. Even beyond practice, I am also always so excited for my races, the chance to physically compete, and have my adrenaline running high. These experiences are irreplaceable, and would never have happened if I didn’t join a sport.
Having something outside of school has improved both my physical and mental health as well. I am able to take care of my body with daily exercise, and clear my mind, especially if I’ve been trapped under the unavoidable anxiety every student faces while in school. All being said, there are definitely sacrifices that have to be made when being an active team member. Sometimes I am too busy to hang out with friends, or I have to prioritize my homework after practice so that I do not run out of time. While these are all unfortunate things to miss, I believe there are more benefits than repudiations that come from participating in a sport.
To conclude, I feel that students participating in school sports should be a critically fun part of their high school experience. While Glenbard West is celebrating 100 years, women are celebrating the 50-year anniversary of being able to participate in school sports, thanks to a law enabling equality in athletic participation called Title IX. This is so exhilarating and means it is important for both boys and girls to keep taking advantage of this incredible opportunity – whether we have had it for 50 years or 100.”
Sophia Mitra, Junior
“Pride. Tradition. Excellence. You’ve probably seen or heard of these words somewhere around Glenbard West. I can almost guarantee that you’ve seen them in an email signature of a teacher or administrator, and you’ve certainly heard them echoed by many throughout our centennial year. What exactly do these words mean? Why is it only three words? This is commonly referred to as a vision statement. I’ve met strategic planners who have spent hours coming up with a vision statement just like that, so as to perfectly embody those who have contracted them for their creativity. Their work is very distinct, and it’s what makes these statements so memorable. Perhaps District 41’s Ignite Passion. Inspire Excellence. Imagine Possibilities rings a bell for many of you. So why not just throw three words or statements up there? Because each word, its placement, and its meaning work together to create and maintain the image of Glenbard West we know today.
While some might look inward at Glenbard West and see too many activities to count–as clubs, sports organizations, and spirit activities grow each year–I see an institution united by its common commitment to push the envelope every moment, as if the students and faculty at Glenbard West were dared to make every day better than the last. While the development of the Pride. Tradition. Excellence. Framework came before my time, the choices that went into it can be found with little trouble–which makes for a perfect vision statement.
To those people that look inward at Glenbard West negatively, I train their eyes on Tradition, the centerpiece of our vision. Tradition stands at the center for the same reason we exercise it each day: it’s the spark that unites us. Fueled by Pride and Excellence off to the sides, Tradition is the core of our culture at Glenbard West. Without it, we become yet another school, in yet another district, in yet another state, just working to educate its many students. From the largest traditions–like GW Spirit Fridays and Pep Rallies–to the most exclusive–like those reserved for sports organizations that range from pre-game rituals to the breakdown at the end of every practice–each and every tradition has a place for each and every student. While there’s been endless discussion over tradition both uplifting and critical, it should be strongly considered that any program–namely tradition–capable of transcending the academic origins of every student with the power to connect them to a larger community culture should be at the heart of every academic institution in the country. Just as Pride and Excellence aim to embody, Glenbard has not shied away from this task and has kept its success in the area at its core for decades. Beyond those of you at GW who are reading this right now, think about every graduating class back to our inception. Some of the most recognizable traditions you carry with you each year as a student at Glenbard were started as early as the 1950s–The Homecoming Bonfire’s first light was in 1951, and continues to this day–not only connecting you with your classmates, but connecting you with generations of Hilltoppers before you.
Connection is key here at the Castle, though our fondness of tradition also helps preserve our history and enable the Celebrate the Past pillar of our centennial year. Not to mention how it kept us moving and connected throughout a global pandemic, where we all struggled to stay motivated. Without tradition, how can we call ourselves the Hilltoppers? Because when everything is lost, we’ll start anew, with another tradition to serve as the vanguard for our excellence.”
Drew Bennett, Junior
“I’ve always struggled to understand the concept of football. Not necessarily how the game is played, but the importance the game holds. The way it brings people together, and more drastically, how it divides those in opposition. The way everyone will get dressed up for a game, only to hate the event once arrived. Although many feel as though football games are God’s view of perfection, I would argue it is far from it.
Shouting from the rooftops, in regards to their adoration for football games, are the extroverts. Those whose voices roar above the rest, drowning out the noise of any object near them. But I would like to shed light to those with a softer voice; the ones you can’t see over the hurdle of the crowd.
It is no secret that West loves football. I mean, it’s all you can see. There is a well kept football turf, with a plethora of cheerleaders to cheer on the pletera of football players, and a packed student section-even at away games. In the halls I overhear talks of football practice, football games, football activities, football fundraisers, and football conditioning. And on special occasions-even more football!
However, I do not wish to come here to complain about how football games suck, or are boring, or even a lack of time. I only wish to critique a tradition that seems to plague our school.
But before that-although I hate to be that person-I must bring light to the center of the football discussion: popular people. I know, I know, boo me all you want!
The school atmosphere is a garden. One with a vast array of flowers, supported by one gardener. In the front and center of the garden, the place that receives the most light, stands the tallest flowers. The ones loved by all, the ones that sell the most, and are undoubtedly the most beautiful. Off to the sides, there are the flowers still holding value, just missing some attention from the gardener. Trailing back, the rows of flowers continue further and further, until the almost dead, mismatched flowers left in the dark corner of the garden are the only ones left.
So what am I asking to change? Don’t worry, I’m not arguing to get rid of football, and I’m surely not trying to get rid of popularity either. However, I did just complain about these two topics for the last two minutes, so I might as well continue: I solely want other students, mainly introverts, to change their view on what the dream highschool experience looks like. Beyond that, I urge everyone to contemplate what truly brings them joy, and to branch outside of the societal standards of fun.
When I went into my sophomore year of highschool, I was stressed out of my mind after realizing I didn’t go to a single football game the year prior. Although I knew I would hate it, and despise every moment of it, I felt compelled to go, as if my life was on the line.
I never went, and since then, I have still never gone to a football game. I do not regret it, and I am here to tell you other introverts, your highschool experience does not diminish if you don’t watch random teenage boys throw around an oval ball for two hours. So go back to your room, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read, and pour yourself a glass of coffee. Trust me, you’ll have a lot more fun.”
Emilia Serna, Junior
“Every Friday, I walk into Glenbard West and see the cheerleaders dressed up in their uniforms with their bags filled with goodies to give to the football players. Every Friday I also can’t help but wonder why West continues this tradition. Something that I’ve noticed here at West is that the student body glorifies the men’s sports, but pays little to no attention to women’s sports. I believe West students should be bringing more energy and showing up for the women’s sports at West as well, breaking this tradition of supporting men’s only sports.
As a West student athlete, I notice that at our lacrosse games only parents and, at best, the friends of our teammates will show up. It’s very discouraging to think that students don’t want to go to our games and bring the same energy that they do for our mens football or basketball games. Beyond that, this idea that students have created that women’s sports aren’t as entertaining, is rooted in sexism that the world has been battling for a very long time. Women are seen as inferior and less aggressive to men, making them believe that our games won’t be fun to watch, however, that is simply not true. Most times women’s games are just as fun, maybe even more fun, to watch. This idea of women being less than creates an unhealthy environment for all female athletes growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the football games and socializing, but where do we draw the line? What sporting events do we attend and not attend, and why do we only go because everyone else around us is going? Glenbard West Students, I call you to start a new tradition, go to women’s sporting events, create a hype and crowd at these games. Don’t let women hide in the shadows of sports, because we can play too.
I’ve been told many times that I shouldn’t be “as good” as some of my male teammates on my ski racing team simply because I’m a woman, and that I need to let them beat me sometimes to make them feel better. I won’t stand for this anymore. These prejudiced ideas need to be thrown away, and new traditions need to be started. We as a community, in Glen Ellyn and the students of Glenbard West, need to come together and find solutions to combat this blatant sexism we are facing.To anyone who is reading this, I would like to challenge you to find a way to change what you have been taught. Change your beliefs, change your values, and change the way you view the world. Reach out to your community and find ways to become more inclusive. Go to more women’s sporting events, treat women the same way you would treat a man because we deserve no less, women are not inferior. Gather all your friends and go support your school at every game, not just men’s sports.”
Anne Williams, Junior
“The scenic and iconic Duchon Field, has been a part of Glenbard West for its 100 years. It is a feature of our campus that has been written up in many publications, noting its unique setting and its characteristics as a grass field without lights. There is only one problem with this special field, as has been the tradition, no sport other than football plays its games on Duchon Field. It is time for this tradition to be updated and to allow other sports to play their games on Duchon Field.
I am a Glenbard West junior and varsity soccer player and I have never played a game on Duchon Field. Don’t get me wrong, our games on Memorial Field provide an intimate experience for the players and their family and fans. But, there is nothing that replaces the
experience of being on Duchon Field — amongst the trees, seeing the school on the hill and listening to the sounds of wildlife on or near Lake Ellyn. Further, the stadium style bleachers allow for spectators to see the entire field from wherever they sit. They are not limited to the low viewing perspective of the bleachers at Memorial Field. As a student spectator, wouldn’t you like to cheer on our soccer team from the majestic bleachers looking out over Lake Ellyn? As a player, wouldn’t you like to play on the field, where our school has been playing football for 100 years?
In July of this year, 2022, at “stadiumtalk.com”, where the best high school football stadiums in every state have been identified, author Tony Adame specifically notes that “watching Glenbard West High play at Bill Duchon Field is almost like stepping into a time machine”. This reinforces the historical nature of Duchon Field and the dedication of keeping our field in its natural setting of “ a forest on three sides and Lake Ellyn Park behind the visiting bleachers”. It is clearly a priority of Glenbard West to cultivate Duchon Field and by limiting
the use for sports teams only to football, it also sends the message that football is more important than any of the other sports. I wonder how the field hockey team feels about this or the girls soccer team, or the lacrosse teams, to name a few?
Of the ten varsity soccer away games played so far in the fall of 2022, every other school match has been played on that school’s main stadium field. I wonder how the players from a high school visiting Glenbard West feel, when they arrive and find out that they are not playing on the stadium field? I would imagine that they are surprised and confused. (This is not to mention all of the passenger and freight trains constantly passing by Memorial Field during a soccer game, often being so noisy that players cannot hear their coach’s instructions!)
I think we can do better and establish a new tradition, where Duchon Field is used for all field-based varsity sports, for at least some of their home games. Can you imagine being introduced on the field at the start of the game, looking up to the bleachers and our
castle-like school behind, knowing we are representing Glenbard West on the field that has been there for 100 years? Beyond that, my teammates and I would run up the hill at the end of the game and ring the bell to tell everyone there has been another soccer victory!”
Grayson Kalinich, Junior
“The race between young adults on a child’s scooter always creates a good laugh out of those that are watching – and even a few tears. At Glenbard West, in their final week of school, the entirety of the senior class lug scooters to school and carry them through the hallways until fifth period when they all get to race down our big hill driveway and zoom around the lake. It’s been a tradition for years signifying the newfound freedom these seniors will find in their years to come.
As a student of Glenbard West, a younger sibling of two graduates, and a lifelong child full of Glenbard West pride, I have witnessed this tradition on many occasions. This tradition – along with so many others – are so important to continue to partake in. Even through the online Covid year, students kept up with this ride down the hill. This kind of pride for the school initiates a unity throughout the entire community surrounding the school. Furthermore, it brings emotion to everyone that has attended this event. They roll down the hill like they will soon be entering a life of their own, and making choices of their own. This event specifically, is the most important tradition that has been carried through the years. It evokes the seniors to be excited for the future ahead of them, and to be excited to watch their peers that they have grown up with, as they achieve great things.
Years ago, I walked down to the school to watch this event for my first time. Even though I didn’t know anyone rolling down the hill on their little siblings scooters, I felt excited not only for these soon-to-be-graduates, but excited to partake in the same tradition as I got older. This tradition excites the young to get to do the scooter lap when they are older, the graduates as they begin to embark on their life journey’s, and the family members as they watch their children, grandchildren, or siblings soar into life.
Majority of these students will begin college in three months, spend years getting another education, then find a job and start work, build a family, and thrive through life. This lap around the lake is meant to be a remembrance of all they have achieved in their first twelve or more years of school. They will be leaving their parents soon, just like they scootered away from the nest of Glenbard West. This tradition embarks a feeling of pride throughout the community, as well as excitement in the students participating. This is why it is so important to keep traditions going at Glenbard West High School.”
Allie Murphy, Junior
“We all have traditions. Whatever they may be, whoever they may include, tradition is unifying, sometimes universal. They are past down from generation to generation, through hard times and even harder ones, traditions stand strong. The scale of traditions—their impact however big, however small—varies from family to family, culture to culture, society to society. Traditions cover all aspects of socialization and are there wherever one goes. Schools, families, places of worship and even work all have traditions. On the surface, they are there in celebration or to remember something. Every year my family collectively goes and buys our Christmas Tree together. It’s a whole process, dinner, multiple different Christmas tree shops, lights and Christmas music, because it’s something my parents did with their parents-and something I’ll do with my kids. That is tradition. Ideas, actions and values being passed along from generation to generation. Traditions are littered throughout our history because in part history is just simply stories being passed along through generations. All in all, traditions begin with the intention of unification and building a community, and yet the debate about the impact of tradition is ever growing.
But when does tradition stop being unifying and become damaging? Is there even a line to be drawn? I believe these questions plague our society and our generation. Traditions are very commonly rooted in racist, sexist and other oppressive values that we, as a generation, deem unacceptable because of our new set of norms, beliefs and values. Each generation emerges with newfound attention to differing issues. I like to always point to the institution of sports. I have always been athletic and participated in sports and for me it has always been an extracurricular, a hobby but for many people athletics and traditions are one in the same. Football is a great example of this, especially high school football. Football brings together a community, it’s popular, it’s profitable, it’s ‘America’s game’, it’s a multibillion dollar corporation, it has national pull, but most importantly it’s rooted in tradition. The act of playing football is passed down from father to son, through generations and it is placed on a pedestal. But are we as a society actually benefiting from sports? With the 100th anniversary of Title 9 it is of ever more importance that we break traditional gender roles that have been constantly passed down. Or take the example of the academic tradition of having a valedictorian. The valedictorian is typically top of the senior class, in terms of grades, gives the commencement speech and creates an inherent competition among the class. Naming a valedictorian leaves schools with the task of combing through students and picking the ‘best’. We, here at Glenbard West, do not name a valedictorian nor rank the classes by GPA. I believe there is pride to be taken in that fact but nonetheless West remains a competitive environment where academic success is of evermore importance. In trying to answer questions about drawing a line between good traditions and bad traditions, it only poses more questions, where do we find the balance? Trying to list all the times when tradition is ‘good’ has too many asterisks.
Part of me feels as though we can’t be the generation to rid itself completely of the traditions our families have built upon. And yet there’s this nagging, sinking feeling that is so prominent, it’s hard to ignore. So I have come to the conclusion that tradition is ‘good’ when it builds community, supports people and ties in the values of the current generation. And tradition is ‘bad’ or not beneficial when it remains concrete in old norms. But those observations are just that. They don’t have any standing except as opinions. Families will still have unrealistic traditions, people will still play football despite the health impacts, students will still be ranked based on grades and our society will continue to change its norms and its values. “
Abby Davis, Junior