It’s our party and we’ll dress up if we want to

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Any week of school pales when compared to the last week of school for seniors. During their last week of school, Monday through Thursday, seniors come to New Trier dressed up in themes such as USA, Hawaiian, New Trier Spirit, and denim.
On Friday, students are usually dressed in the over-the-top crazy theme. Seniors come to school for advisery, sign yearbooks, and trek to Elder Beach for the traditional end-of-high school cigar.
Along with dressing up, many seniors exhibit mob-like behavior during the last week of school. Clogging the “P” stairwell, “G” stairwell, and a 2nd floor bathroom have been only some of the antics as of late.
These events inconvenience sophomores, juniors, and teachers, who still have to endure school through Jun. 9.
The dilemma New Trier faces is this: how can the last day of school for seniors be fun and memorable while keeping a controlled learning environment for the juniors and sophomores who still have finals in the coming weeks?
Although it is the end of an era for the graduating seniors, celebrating too much could very well cross a line.
In an email sent to all senior parents and advisers, the administration clearly spelled out the behavior and dress they expect from seniors on their last day of high school.
“Students need to dress and behave as they would on a regular school day [for example, no costumes]. Seniors engaging in disruptive behaviors on campus or on the streets bordering the high school will be sent home and will face disciplinary action, including the loss of the privilege to participate in graduation exercises,” said the administration in the email.
Another section detailed consequences concerning senior pranks. “Violations of rules can not only keep one from walking at graduation but they will also not be allowed into the graduation party.”
According to Scott Williams, Assistant Principal for Student Services, the primary goal of the rules surrounding the last day of school are to keep seniors safe.
For this reason the consequences for violating the rules are severe. The administration wants students to understand that their actions now will not just impact them but their families as well.
“…These types of behaviors will result in the loss of graduation activities including participation in the graduation ceremony and party, a consequence that can be devastating to entire families.”
According to photography teacher and adviser Thomas Lau, the school is in its right to punish students for over-the-top behavior.
“I think that certain behaviors warrant losing certain privileges for acting in a way that is not conducive to the learning environment of all the students here,” said Lau. “I don’t think that wearing a costume is bad but I think there are kids here who take it way too far.”
Some students are not of the same opinion.
When asked about the regulations surrounding the last day of school, senior Robby Hauldren said, “Let the kids be kids. Let the boys play.”
Although that is the way that most seniors could view the rules established by the administration, some behaviors can quickly spiral out of control from good spirited fun to degrading or mean.
Lau remembers when there were no regulations in place and students took their freedom too far.
“About seven years ago, which was my first year here, I remember walking into school and seeing seniors after they had been let out standing on the other side of the sidewalk. They were flipping off their teachers and were screaming all sorts of obscenities. To do that to the people that made New Trier’s fantastic education possible for four years is selfish and rude,” said Lau.
According to Lau, “There are kids who just take it too far.”

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