The Art Of Tradition
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Student Life

The Art Of Tradition

Easton and Tradition go hand in hand.

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The Art Of Tradition
The Morning Call

When I was in 5th grade, my mother asked me if I wanted to go to a different school. I was in a school district that had over 600 kids in a class, that had to worry about gangs and gang activity, and that had to fight for funding for the music program. I knew that it was not the best school I could go to, but I remember looking at my parents and telling them, "No because I'm going to build the bonfire my senior year." A different school had meant different kids, potentially a better education (perhaps a more specialized one), and a different life, and instead of choosing a new beginning, I chose the tradition.

Easton Area High School has one of the oldest and continuous annual football games in the country, starting in 1905. On Turkey Day (Thanksgiving), thousands of people pack Lafayette College's football stadium to watch Easton and Phillipsburg, NJ go head to head.

And I mean, upwards of 17,000 people.

Our Turkey Week festivities don't begin there. On Monday, the student council decorates the halls. On Monday Night, the annual powder puff football game between EAHS and PHS and hundreds of students pack the stadium to watch (usually it's for the powder puff cheerleaders because nothing is as great as seeing your guy friends running around in sports bras and short-shorts at the end of November).

On Tuesday, the senior class is excused from class all day in order to build our bonfire.

I easily touched over 700 wood pallets that day.

After an incident in the 60s, where our rival high school shot flaming arrows from the back of pick-up trucks that were driving on the highway by our school onto our wood pile in the middle of the night and burnt down the bonfire prematurely, seniors spend the night protecting the bonfire. We pitch tents (that we don't intend to sleep in) and bring blankets and chairs; we stay up all night, eating smores and chatting with our best friends.

Around 6am, they quick us out – tell us to go home because we have to be at school by 7:20. Then in a zombie-like haze, we file into school just before the first bell. Seniors then skip second block (period) to take a nap.

Next are the pep rally and the introduction of Turkey Day Court (this takes the place of Homecoming Court). Our award winning band plays and our national champ cheerleaders do their stuff. The powder puff cheerleaders show off their routine amidst ruckus laughter.

Wednesday Night is a parade of student organizations from our football field to the high school.

Then the bonfire:

Thursday morning is the game.

Easton, Pa values nothing more than its traditions, and that value has been instilled in me. I would never dream of missing a Wednesday night bonfire. Then there's the candle lighting ceremony that Friday that kicks off the Christmas Holiday.And instead of celebrating July 4th, as a city, we celebrate Heritage Day which recognizes when The Declaration of Independence was read in Easton, and I'd never miss the fireworks with my friends.

I'm from a city that values where it's come from, and I have grown a loyalty to my home that I never expected to develop. My best friend and I were driving to my house so that I could visit my parents and we both realized the likelihood of ending up back in Easton. It was terrifying for a moment (because we vowed to go and create a life somewhere else outside of Easton, Pennslyvania), but it felt incredibly comforting when we really thought about it. Because it's home and I want my kids to have that experience with tradition that I had.




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