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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

    Huybrechts introduces new theme

    In the spring of 2007, yearbook adviser Jennifer Bladen sent Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts an e-mail. In the body of it was the phrase “just because they can doesn’t mean they should,” Huybrechts said.

    Huybrechts immediately thought that “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” would be a good theme for the upcoming school year.

    Just a few weeks before the Aug. 29 meeting when she announced it to faculty, Huybrechts decided that although she had collected approximately seven phrases, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” would be the theme for this school year.

    “I just loved it and thought it should be the universal theme,” Huybrechts said. “Also I think it ties nicely with our school’s theme ‘they can because they think they can.’ That is very empowering but then you have to mitigate that a little bit.”

    The phrase is regularly used in yearbook design circles, Bladen said.

    “Just because you can use 47 fonts doesn’t mean you should,” Bladen used as an example.
    Bladen said she mentioned it to Library and Technology Department head Susan Kallok and librarian Anna Martino, who proposed that Bladen suggest it to Huybrechts as the theme.

    Huybrechts initially decided to create a theme last year after a suggestion from the 40 member Spirit of the School committee that met during the 2005-2006 school year. Last year’s theme was “the hard right vs. the easy wrong.”

     “There are a lot of subtleties when doing the right thing,” she said. “What I am talking about this year is not the difference between absolute right and wrong, but a grayer area.”

    Huybrechts said she was initially skeptical when deciding to create a theme for each year. She said she was afraid that students might “lampoon” it. Although Huybrechts said she is not sure how successful last year’s theme was, she said she did hear it referenced at times around school.
    “I actually heard kids say it a number of times last year,” she said, “And I know that some teachers used it in their teachings.”

    Huybrechts said she believes that this year’s theme can be used both in classrooms and in interpersonal relationships.

    She also said she wants to use the theme when discussing how to make the school more environmentally conscious, something she said she has been thinking of doing.

    Huybrecht told it to Bladen the night before it was announced to the rest of the faculty.
    “At least 10 teachers have stopped me and said ‘I love it,’” Bladen said.

    President Thomas C. Hudnut said it was a “wonderful idea.”

    “It’s applicable in so many situations in real life,” Hudnut said.

    Huybrechts said she did have some doubts when it came to the theme: the grammar. She said she wondered whether there was a comma in the phrase and therefore had to confide in English teacher Jocelyn Medawar.

    Upon hearing the theme Medawar said she thought it could be easily tied into the tenth grade English curriculum, especially novels such as “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and “Antigone” by Sophocles.

    Medawar eventually told her that the comma question could go either way, so Huybrechts said she is not sure whether she wants to use the comma yet. 

    “Just because you can’ is a subject so you don’t need it,” Huybrechts said. “But rhetorically you pause when you say it. I made those signs last year and I think maybe I’ll leave the comma out of that, but I haven’t decided.”

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    Huybrechts introduces new theme