Posters adorned along the hallways, banners wreathed over dorm balconies, an overwhelming sense of passion and loyalty perpetuated our eager campus. Alumni, faculty and students alike await a day full of competition, sportsmanship and inevitable Loomis Chaffee victories. Nothing short of a tornado could quell the unprecedented anticipation and enthusiasm for the day’s activities. For on that fateful Saturday in November, as the sun traverses over the meadows and a cool, light breeze refreshes those on the turf, the entire Loomis community unites under a common, unyielding sentiment. Beat Kent. The annual rivalry games against Kent, sensibly titled “Kent Day” brought about a day full of showmanship, and more importantly, an incomparable sense of school spirit. Yet following the eventual dissolution of Kent Day and an organized rival, I am afraid the revered and storied Pelican Pride may fade into obscurity alongside it if nothing is done.
Arguably, the identity of Loomis depends on the habitual fulfillment of those fortunate enough to attend. While often times considered negligible, an individual student’s pride in Loomis creates a more cordial, welcoming and inclusive environment for all community members. When Kent Day was contested it was circled on the calendar months prior. Hours and hours of planning, year after year of the passing of the spoon and the bowl, and suddenly, everything stops. No football game. No Kent Day. And unfortunately, a waning sense of School Spirit. For the seniors who experienced Kent Day first hand during their freshman year, they detail a shared appreciation for what occurred. Senior and lifelong faculty kid Graham Struthers laments, “School Spirit used to go beyond just wearing a Loomis Chaffee t-shirt. It was an emotional pride and deep connection we had with our school”. Graham’s aforementioned thoughts convey an imperative argument towards creating an instinctual joy in calling Loomis your home. Regardless, this idealistic rhetoric benefits no one without action, which begs the question: How can Loomis improve its school spirit?
Understandably, it is unreasonable to assume this significant transformation in approachability can materialize overnight. Consequently, the route to destigmatizing the school’s preconceptions must be a series of baby steps. Firstly, in order to foster a welcoming, inclusive environment for all students, each community member must abide by his or her presumptive role along the Loomis Chaffee journey. From a four year senior to a new freshman, everyone plays a unique, yet invaluable role in our school’s persona. I urge all freshman and others who are unfamiliar with the student section and more broadly campus life to seek out an upperclassmen, be it a prefect, a teammate or a classmate to give you some more insights to the great opportunities that are offered here. In turn, seniors, it is your duty to make everybody comfortable and ready to cheer on the respective teams. Lastly, LCAA. The recently formed organization’s main goal and purpose is to improve school spirit in all facets of student life. In past years, the noticeable lack of a true student section leader hindered the potential of some of the games and created a boisterous brouhaha amongst the bleachers. Often times these fracases and chirps, however trivial and frivolous they may appear, require justifiable disciplinary action by the deans. To prevent such an occurrence this upcoming year, those incidents must be addressed. You can be just as loud and rowdy without any negative comments, remarks or cheers.
Your years here at Loomis are limited. For freshman, you have four years to create something momentous, an unbeforeseen pride in Loomis and the altruistic values that we, as a community, value; Remember to promote your best self and serve the common good. On the contrary, seniors have one final year to ride out their high school life, a year to take the reigns, to be leaders, and to have fun. Ultimately, regardless if you have one or four or two or even five years left, 2017 will soon be upon us, and collectively as a school, we have the ability to produce a new generation at Loomis, a new era even. We all have four years to be here, four years to make an impact, four years to leave a legacy. You just have to buy in. Everyone must buy in. Without question, most of my fondest memories from my years here will be with my classmates, along some dilapidated bleachers, cheering and screaming until my vocal chords can no longer. And that is what consistently draws people back; the unforeseen friendship, the loyalty, the passion, the camaraderie. School Spirit is what distinguishes an amazing school from a good school. I just hope Loomis is ready to make that jump.