Milton Academy Tradition
by The Milton Measure on Friday, June 10th, 2011
Founded in 1798, Milton Academy is, by its very nature, a school rich in history. We pride ourselves on thirty-year faculty members, students of former students, and century-old buildings. Yet, for all our history, we lack the fundamental traditions that have previously defined the character of our institution.
In recent years, we have witnessed the continued decline of numerous Milton traditions. The end of some traditions, from a student’s perspective, has been unclear and controversial. Many feel that, in the past few years, the school has discontinued seemingly harmless, albeit sometimes disruptive, school traditions, such as the beloved senior dog day, senior skip day, unapproved senior pranks, and senior drive by.
While many are quick to blame strict school administrators for the abolition of age-old traditions, the monochromatic filter of nostalgia with which we observe the past skews our judgment.
We often forget why administrators, protecting the health and safety of students, have stopped these traditions. The Change-Over assembly—when class leadership is passed on to the rising seniors—was ended for several years after a violent Boarder vs. Day Student brawl broke out in the Change-Over of 2007. Senior Skip Day was canceled after much of the senior class chose to spend their day off at a party in Maine.
Other traditions simply became outdated and unnecessary. Our From the Archives article (Page 3) illustrates one such tradition—separate graduations for male and female students—that no longer exists.
There has always been justification—sometimes petty, sometimes valid—to disallow prior traditions. Yet, by dismantling senior traditions in an attempt to parallel society’s movement towards political correctness and avoidance of legal liability, we have stripped Milton of much of its personality.
We, by no means, suggest that Milton should reinstate old traditions simply for the sake of nostalgia. Two years ago, the head monitors tried to restore the once beloved Space Day as part of spirit week with little success; even though Space Day was one of the most anticipated days during the time of teachers such as Mr. Ball and Mr. Heard, students simply did not participate with enthusiasm.
In the past few years, students have started new traditions that meet the wants of students and needs of the school. Spirit Week, the week leading up to Nobles Day where students dress up in different themed clothing each day, promotes friendly inter-class competition and breaks up the monotony of the school day. Gotcha, another beloved school wide competition, achieves these same goals.
If we cooperate with the administration, we can re-cultivate Milton’s rich history and create new traditions of our own. Gotcha and Spirit Week provide an example of new, unique, and organic traditions, which are, perhaps, more tailored to Milton than simply stereotypical senior privileges.
In a few years, dying enthusiasm, overeager students, or changing societal values could bring about the demise of these traditions. Today, however, we, the students of Milton Academy, must carry on these traditions with pride and enthusiasm so we can recover the personality of Milton integral to the atmosphere and character of the school.
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