Every other Thursday, the halls of Loyola Sacred Heart look like an American flag. Red, white, and blue polo shirts worn over khakis and under athletic sweatshirts are the uniforms required on Mass days. At least 10% of our 180 mornings revolve around finding this uniform we all dread because all we want is to wear jeans.
We know that standing in Mass we look like we belong, that we truly are the family our teachers and alumni talk about, but as soon as Thursday is over, we all return to our own styles. And this is what I appreciate most about my school--the diversity of personalities.
With only 170 students at Loyola, I can get to know every person in every class. As I prepared for this article, I wandered the halls inquiring what is cool at Loyola and what we respect about each other. That day, it happened to be “Classy Friday”—a tradition started last year by my class. To end the week on a good note and start the weekend with class, everyone dresses to impress and, at the same time, expresses his or her own style. Student Body President Tawnie Kerr—in high heels, black dress pants, glasses, and a button up—responded that, “Being your own person gives people the chance to get to know you. Loyola has fostered the freedom of individuals to push each other. We understand the standards are set and try our best to live up to them.”
At Loyola, these standards, whether for uniforms or athletics or academic performance, create a drive within our student body to do its best and to respect each other and ourselves. “There’s the whole positive peer pressure thing that we have going for us here,” junior Leo Bird observed. My experience at Loyola has helped me understand myself and how I want others to see me. Being myself is cool – and that has been supported by everyone around me and embraced by my classmates.
By the time I was a junior, I noticed that every person in my class had asserted him/herself like I had. For example, senior Johnny Medeiros shows his personal style through his kitty cat t-shirts, a butterfly sweatshirt, and Velcro shoes. At first, this attire is a little confusing, due to his starting rank on Loyola’s Varsity football team, his 6 foot 5 stature and ability to grow a full man beard, but that is the Johnny we have known for all of high school and we know that and love it.
Loyola has given me and many others the understanding that being who we are is cool, and being amongst friends enables us to strive for success because it’s what is expected. Even on “Classy Fridays,” it’s cool to see who can get into and look classiest. That’s what’s cool at Loyola-- the environment of the school and the camaraderie we experience as students. Attending LSH shows us that being who we are is cool.
– By Kelly Eppard
Dances as we know them are over,” Sentinel Principal Tom Blakely said. “I can’t do this anymore. I’ve changed my thinking on a school’s necessity to provide an opportunity to go to a dance. And there’s only one reason—sexual behavior. Grinding. I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore.”
Blakely decided to take action on this issue after chaperoning this September’s Sadie Hawkins dance—a dance that ironically took place the night before the Missoulian’s last article on grinding at school dances.
“That dance just tipped the balance for me,” Blakely said. “I can’t turn a blind eye anymore.”
Since becoming principal in 2008, Blakely has repeatedly notified students that inappropriate dancing must stop. However, the explicit behavior only increased and now Blakely is on the brink of canceling all dances next year, with the exception of prom.
“I never thought it would get to this,” Blakely said.
On a positive note, Blakely is giving students a final chance to exhibit proper dance behavior: at November’s Fireside dance, an annual fundraiser for the cheerleaders, students will be given one hour. If students grind, Blakely will turn on the lights and send people home without a refund.
However, if students can manage to dance appropriately for an entire hour, the lights will remain down, the music will keep blasting, and students will get another hour. This process will repeat for the subsequent hours of the dance. If all proceeds smoothly the rest of the night, students will have earned the preservation of the following year’s dances.
“I’ve given the students two years and made it clear that I don’t approve. In my mind, I’ve been absolutely fair about this,” Blakely said. “Dancing is about socializing and having fun. I feel I have a good relationship with students, but I’m not coming between them at a dance. It’s easier to turn the lights on and go home.”
Blakely’s threat is not groundbreaking in Missoula. Hellgate Principal Russ Lodge has already canceled dances due to improper conduct. Big Sky Principal Trevor Laboski is in the process of writing a code of conduct for students that strictly prohibits grinding.
Sentinel’s biggest concern is the number of student clubs that rely on dances for the majority of their fundraising. The Thespian Troupe and cheerleading program both receive over 80 percent of their yearly income through dances. Key Club has already lost the majority of its funding after the spring Hawaiian dance was cut a few years ago by former Sentinel Principal Rob Watson for similar reasons and not reinstated by Blakely.
Blakely has asked the student government to become involved in the campaign to get kids to clean up their acts. Student Body President Ryan Halligan and Vice President Jace Holyoak are planning an assembly to help students learn new dance steps and to make them aware of the serious nature and repercussions of the continuation of grinding at school dances.
“Face to face with a little space,” Blakely said. “That’s all I’m asking.”
– By Kelly Balfour - Konah Editor in Chief
– By Max TeSoro - Associate Editor
Teens are infamously difficult. As we are constantly reminded, teens are moody, fickle, and disrespectful. The media, from Modern Family to Fox News, is happy to reinforce this view. As far back as the 1950s, when the concept of “teenagers” was still new, teens were popularly portrayed as disaffected, rabble rousing, and generally impolite. Now, this view was definitely founded in fact. The postwar teens were a class of people unencumbered by the hardships and deprivations their elders had experienced. But they perceived themselves to be trapped in a repressive, bland culture of sameness and mediocrity. Adults were distrustful of this newly emergent youth culture, and this distrust fed the growing generation gap. This gap was never really bridged, as teens from 1955 to 2011 will tell you. Adults treat teens, perceived to be so different from themselves, with fear and contempt. As a teen male, I am scrutinized upon entering a store or restaurant in a way no adult man would be. Teens are lampooned in the popular press through comic strips such as Zits. Moral panics concerning the supposedly deviant behavior of adolescents periodically sweep the nation.
And I must confess that I’m confused as to why.
Sure, teenagers are a little absentminded sometimes. They are obsessed with acceptance by their peers, often to a fault. They experiment with sex, alcohol, and drug use. They are sometimes a bit rowdy. But is that really cause for the general societal disapproval of teens? All teens want is to be treated as adults. But parents, convinced that teens are really still just children, are reluctant to do so. So adults end up interfering in places where interference isn’t necessary in order to “protect” adolescents. A perfect example of adult hysteria over perceived dangers within teen culture is the “rainbow party” panic of the early 2000s. In 2003, Oprah Winfrey dedicated a segment of her wildly popular show to the “growing trend of rainbow parties”. Rainbow parties, Oprah informed America’s mothers, are parties in which a group of girls each wear a different color of lipstick and administer oral sex to a group of boys. At the end of the night, the boy with the most colors of lipstick “wins”. This caused massive uproar, parental panic, and bible thumping by conservative commentators. But a New York Times investigation in 2005 unearthed no evidence that any “rainbow parties” had ever actually occurred. Anywhere. Before the “Oprah” segment, no one had ever heard of rainbow parties. Teens were involved in no such lurid acts, and adults simply mucked about trying to prove that they had.
In short, teens just want to be treated as adults. Teens don’t care for childish condescension. They would rather avoid moralistic sermonizing about the corruption of today’s youth. Today’s youth is in all likelihood no better and no worse than their parents or their grandparents were. Each generation just wants to prove itself, and to tackle the problems the previous ones left behind.
– By Jason Hogan