Celebrate good times

The ample whining which met the “cancellation” of Champions Day when in fact no day had ever been promised was clearly not well thought out.

Suddenly, the same students who go apoplectic when a teacher moves a test date up were complaining that there was no administration-sanctioned ditch day. In what way would a day off benefit anyone? As much as an extra day of rest would help some sleepier students, the negative repercussions of Champions Day would far outweigh the positives.

As Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said, “I feel like I’m depriving you of something by taking away days of school.”

Although that is the man speaking (or the woman, as the case may be), she’s absolutely right.
Yes, students would have the opportunity to rest a little. However, that would be one less day in a school year that is already ridiculously short and overwhelmingly jam-packed.

Within a week, the negative effects of Champions Day would be felt. Classes would suffer as teachers tried to make do without the 45 minutes that were stolen from them. Students would stress out as teachers grew more and more strident, and it is almost doubtless that they would have to cut corners in the curriculum or assign even more work outside of class.

Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra said that quite a few teachers contacted him and expressed concern over the five minutes they lost on the day with the extra-long break to celebrate the victory. Imagine the e-mails he would have received had they lost an entire period.

Aside from the blow to students’ education, Champions Day simply isn’t a good way to celebrate a school victory. Many students bemoan the fact that Harvard-Westlake doesn’t have enough spirit. Sending students scattering to their far-flung homes is an odd way to honor the volleyball team. It seems unlikely that the team members would have the same memory of a day off that they will of riding down the Munger promenade in red and black convertibles with the whole school looking on.
Besides that, this is a memory the whole school can enjoy. The 70-minute break was a great example of what the school needs more of. It was a chance where everyone on campus could hang out and relax together. People even had the option of doing work.

The parade/smoothie/cookies/popcorn celebration was a good alternative to a day off. This way, students who didn’t want to lose an entire day of their education weren’t forced to, and students who wanted a break got one that lasted 70 minutes and probably had a lot more colorful confetti and expensive convertibles than whatever they would have done on their own. And who doesn’t love confetti and expensive convertibles?

An on-site celebration with a healthy dose of pomp was the proper way to celebrate the victory while simultaneously saving a precious day of prep school pedagogy.

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