The Island of Tradition
|Photo by Juwon Jun'14 for the Log|
A walk down the senior path, a rub of the Taylor Nose, and a sharp left turn to the upperclassmen dining hall. What do all of these familiar terms have in common? They are all Loomis traditions. Are Loomis traditions simply spirited activities that bring the school together, or are the traditions just another way to divide the school?
I remember myself as the small and unsure freshman, waltzing into the “upperclassman” dining hall (unofficial term for the old dining hall), being shoved back through the door, and promptly getting kicked back into the “underclassman” dining hall (unofficial term for the new dining hall). At that point in my life, I did not understand how upperclassmen could be so cruel: how did I differ from any of the other students on the opposite end of the building? How could we be united? At the time, the tradition of the dining hall appeared quite unfair to underclassmen. How things have changed.
As the year ends and senior year looms just around the corner, I step into the upperclassmen dining hall with pride, not scolding underclassmen for stepping into the “older” dining hall, but not exactly inviting them either. Underclassmen often sit with older friends at lunch, but overall there remains a strong sense of divide. Tradition can foster camaraderie among peers, but if handled carelessly, it may also bring separation and harassment.
Mr. Ewen Ross warns about the possible dangers of harassment in our community. He extends his opinion, saying, “tradition can be very beneficial to a school’s core, but can also be dangerous if these traditions become harmful or mean.” I’ve concluded that although there is a fundamental separation between the two dining halls, the divide is not purposeful.
“People sit next to their friends at lunch, and generally people are friends with those who are within close age range,” AsiaSol Goring ’12 kindly reminds us. The dining hall does not divide the school any more than do the separate class meetings, or the separate sport teams. So for now, I will let the dining hall argument slide.
On a lighter, less critical note, I begin to wonder about other traditions we maintain at Loomis. The Taylor Nose serves as a friendly face that brings good luck. At one point in time, every student has tried his luck on the nose. From those tests we haven’t studied hard enough for, to the incredibly nerve-wracking show, the Taylor nose remains a reassuring reminder of the faith that the Loomis community fosters for each of its students. “I always rub the nose on my way to Founders for my Latin quizzes,” comments Karen Cha ‘14, “I guess you could say that it’s become one of my own personal rituals.” The nose comforts students, inspiring them not only to believe in their ability, but also not to be afraid of reaching out for a bit of luck. Another ritual, especially for athletes is ringing the victory bell. “The first time I rang the victory bell was for my cross country team two years ago,” recalled Paul K. Lee ‘13, “ringing the victory bell makes me feel one with the Pelican spirit.”
Hanging across from the track field, the victory bell appears magnificent and proud, ready for the victorious teams to return to home field and celebrate. Whenever we hear the bell across campus, we cannot help but feel a tinge of pride for our athletes, peers, and school.
We get all pumped up for the Opening Dance, SCAM, convincing our friends to attend in anticipation for the rest of the demanding year. The fall Homecoming Game also stands out in my mind, where students gather together regardless of their differences in order to watch a good ol’ game of American football. These positive traditions, including the Taylor Nose and victory bell, give me faith in our school neighborliness, and I begin to remember what made me fall in love with Loomis in the first place: its close, friendly students and faculty members.
All traditions at Loomis Chaffee are handled in a respectful and endearing manner. Traditions are comforting as well as serving as a daily reminder of the wonderfully unique traits of the Island. At a school that improves each year technologically, physically, and academically, it is wonderful to know that Loomis maintains its greatest values: tradition and warmth. To the graduating class of 2012: always remember that Loomis will forever remain a haven to which you can always return. Consider that a tradition.