Hey, WTHS! Chill Out!
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Hey, WTHS! Chill Out!

William Tennent High School, don't take away school traditions out of fear of keeping up with social norms.

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Hey, WTHS! Chill Out!
wikipedia

Let’s be honest, the only things that separates William Tennent High School from the rest of the schools in Bucks County, Pennsylvania are the traditions that the students love so much. Black and White Night, Senior Sweetheart, Mr. Tennent, and PowderPuff are among the fondest memories that all of us have to look back on. Going to Tennent and being a panther means so much more because it comes with a rich history of tradition and school spirit that no school could ever even hope to match.

That being said, the news of these traditions changing is rather disappointing. Black and White Night was named Black and White Night because our school colors are literally black and white. The notion to change it to “Red and White Night” or whatever is ridiculous because those aren't our school colors! I know race relations are a pertinent issue to say the least, after all, I am living in the middle of our nation’s capital, but trying to say that calling one team the “Black Raiders” is offensive is beyond ridiculous. Leave the politics out of school tradition. I can promise you that the students of WTHS aren’t thinking about tearing down minority groups through their choice of name, they’re just trying to make up a cool name and have a good time. If you think these students have malicious intent behind their choices then perhaps you are the one with the problem. I can promise you when I was a seventeen year old captain for my team during black and white, my mind was focused on having a sweet name and cool designs, not racism.

Senior Sweetheart is not a pageant. It is not Mr. Tennent, it is an honor. Being nominated for Senior Sweetheart means your peers thought of you as a genuinely kind and deserving person. In no way should this mean that a nominee has to play herself in her own skit, take an exam or write an essay in the way that a Mr. Tennent contestant does. The purpose of Senior Sweetheart is to honor and praise nice girls for being just that--nice! Why bring academics into it? Why judge the girls on their writing and math skills? This was never supposed to be a contest between nominees, it was intended to be a way of honoring and saying thank you to all of them for being positive role models in our school. Look at the past winners and you’ll see just that: genuinely kind, deserving girls. Why would we change that? What’s wrong with praising people for simply being kind? There are literally next to no opportunities for people to be thanked for being kind, positive members of the community so let’s not take this opportunity away.

PowderPuff is the ultimate source of camaraderie between the upperclassmen. Juniors vs. seniors is arguably more cutthroat in our town than Army vs. Navy. Let’s talk about gender roles for a second. Girls playing football and boys taking on the role as cheerleaders is quite frankly the ultimate gender role reversal. This is empowering for both sides. This is the opportunity for the girls to be the athletes, to be on the field, to be cheered for, and for the boys to support them and build them up and encourage them. The student body comes together and rallies behind their upperclassmen to make a night none of us will ever forget.


The traditions of our school are what make being a student so great. They’re the things we look forward to. They’re the events that make so many kids feel motivated to turn in assignments and stay out of trouble so that they could keep their eligibility for these events. I’m disappointed to hear that a school with such rich traditions is bringing politics into the events and taking away from the harmless activities that students find so engaging and exciting. William Tennent High School, take your politics out of our fun. Realize that overall, your school is full of really kind, generous, considerate people. Realize that students are overwhelmingly accepting of everybody regardless of their race, religion or sexuality and remember that you are lucky to have a school that really is pretty inclusive. Don’t create a problem that isn’t there and please, don’t let traditions die out of an incessant desire to stay trendy and fear of not being perfectly PC. The best way to promote inclusion between students is with fun. That’s what you have here, so please don’t take that away.
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