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Townsend Harris High School was reintroduced to its community in 1984 after having been closed for four decades. Along with its halls and doors opening up to prospective students, there also lied the foundation for the future. Traditions became established and grew sturdier as the years passed and to this day, students and faculty of this flourishing school continue to follow the routines of yesterday. Sometimes, tradition is all that is acknowledged, leaving other aspects in the shadows.
Every year, incoming freshmen and sophomores are greeted with Founder’s Day in the early months of being Townsend Harris student. This annual event appreciates the history behind our high school and revisits the past to commemorate it. By now, every single person associated with Townsend Harris can easily recognize the words of the Ephebic Oath. In addition to Founder’s Day, there are also events such as SING!, Festival of Nations, and other entertaining events which seem to accumulate a wide audience every year. However, although fruitful and commendable in their efforts, it appears as though these traditions seem to bask in its limelight way too often.
Plastered in the halls, there are always notices about an event coming soon. Unfortunately, that is not enough to get the attention of a student rushing to get to their next class. Now I am not blaming traditions here for the lack of student participation, but perhaps a certain level of excitement attributed to a longstanding event creates the notion that it is much more worthwhile to attend compared to other creative days such as HennaFest, the Senior Mixer, and ideas like Top Chef or the talent show. It is naïve to think that the fact an event has been prevailing over years does not affect a person’s desire to be a part of the experience. With each year, the audience widens and more people get more attracted to that event.
Many students can say that they just do not have the time to participate in school events but nowadays, it seems more like an excuse rather than a reason. While it is certainly important to keep the grades up, it is also important to show an effort in displaying school spirit through participation and support.
Townsend Harris has been built with traditions at its core. Without them, there would not stand such a school rich with integrity. Unfortunately, sometimes the focus has been murky and the attention has been shifted too far.