Traditions shape school culture
March 10, 2023
Every year the same cycle transpires: new students come in and graduating students move on to bigger things. But the one thing that remains constant through it all is the traditions that shape the student body. As years go on, some traditions manage to last the test of time, whereas others are quickly terminated or get lost in the cycle.
There are a variety of traditions that are common in high schools across the country: senior ditch days, pep assemblies, prom and homecoming. There are; however, an assortment of traditions specific to DGS. Social studies teacher and DGS alumni Carolyn Flores discussed the traditions that occurred when she was in high school that still exist today.
“Exit with pride, where at the end of the year, after graduation practice, you would go out and have a big picnic, and I remember we all went to the little auditorium and watched the senior video,” Flores said. “We did a senior ditch day, although I will tell you I did not partake in it because I played softball in the spring and because we only had one senior ditch day.”
While there are a lot of traditions that still exist, there are also many that were terminated due to safety purposes. From TP-ing the school to burning effigies, symbolic objects of other schools, Flores recalled many traditions that are no longer present at DGS, and her realization as to why this is.
“I have a memory, during sophomore year, of going to the school, over by the football field and Powers Park, there was a school-sponsored bonfire and we burned an effigy, and when I say we, I was just a spectator, but burned an effigy of the mascot on the other team,” Flores said.
Today, many of the traditions that exist are a lot less dangerous and destructive but are just as memorable. Senior Hanna Rodeck illustrated the importance of having traditions in high school and how that positively impacted her high school experience.
“I think [traditions] give a little bit of a sense of consistency. You start off freshman year with these traditions and you can carry them through to senior year, but it also brings our class closer together. The older you get the seniors know how all the traditions work, and the freshmen are just figuring things out, so it really helps you connect with people in your grade, and help people younger than you,” Rodeck said.
Flores described why traditions are an important part of high school and how they play a significant role in bonding the students within a class.
“When you’re old like me, you remember [the traditions] and it’s something to remember… If I ever saw someone who I maybe don’t see very often, at a reunion or something, I think it’s a core memory that we have to look back on because so much of the day-to-day occurrence of what’s going on in school you don’t remember, but you remember the big stuff,” Flores said.