Seniors Are Forced to Remember the School Alma Mater

By Jasmine Adams

As we step closer to the end of the year, many seniors are becoming overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with senior year, such as paying fines to attend prom, completing Saturday schools, and turning in paper work for graduation. One important responsibility that most seniors don’t know about is remembering our Alma Mater. Should we carry on with this ancient tradition or should we let it die out like many other American traditions?

Alma Mater. The word itself sounds like another odd pair of latin words without any significant meaning. Most high school students probably don’t know what an alma mater is. Alma mater means “nurturing mother” in Latin. In the high school context, it is a high school anthem– a school motto of sorts. Students are supposed to know it and sing it as a way to show school spirit and high school pride. However, this appears to be lacking at Highland high school.

 

Few people actually have school spirit at Highland. Senior Amber Philbeck believes that, “The senior class puts the most effort into showing school spirit. I think once we leave, [the school] won’t have it.” If you look into the crowd at football and basketball games, you’ll see an array of seniors with a splash of lower classmen. It seems as though students increasingly go throughout high school slightly detached from the teenage experience. When senior year rolls around, students try their hardest to enjoy their time of youthful bliss.

 

Maybe previously reciting an alma mater was something that many students looked forward too– maybe they sang their Alma Mater like some students sing songs by Bruno Mars. Mr. Baker-Ortiz, a government and economics teacher at Highland who graduated in 88’, remembers fondly the importance of his alma mater. “We actually knew it. We went to rallies and said our Alma Mater. We recited it at ASB events. It was on a big plaque. We had a lot of spirit back then.”

 

Being forced to chant the Alma Mater give off a facade of bulldog pride. It probably won’t be that convincing; I predict that a third of the seniors will either be mouthing the words or simply not saying it. When asked about the senior class reciting our Alma Mater at graduation, Ms. Johnson, the Vice Principal over Activities, commented that “Do they have it in their hands? Yes. Did I hand it out when I did the senior presentations. Yes…You’re expected to learn it. Will we review it in practice? Yes. You have it in your hands ready to rock and roll.”

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Mr. Rivas, an English teacher, attended a school that didn’t have an alma mater. He comments that, “I don’t think merely reciting a song creates school spirit. Wanting to recite the Alma Mater is a result of it.” Highland is not a school filled with spirit like schools were in the 19th century or in the midwest. Why give a semblance that we are? Seniors shouldn’t have to perform the Alma Mater for parents. The Highland Senior class has its own way of showing that we love Highland. It be better to sing “15” repetitively than recite the timeworn Highland Alma Mater.