Republished from a 1988 Oracle
Letter To The Editor
New Boys and the Old Boy System
As I looked out over the crowd at the last pep rally, I noticed how really few “New Boys” actually had bothered to come. This reality gave me a sense of how the overall school spirit is declining. School spirit involves the entire school, and my feeling is that the New Boys as a whole are beginning to lose a lot of that spirit.
New Boy spirit has traditionally come from their relationships with the Old Boys, especially the sixth formers. However, the over-pampering and babying of the New Boys has changed this relationship. It is no longer a relationship of respect and pride; but, rather one of conceit on the New Boys’ part. There are numerous reasons for this radical change.
One of the main reasons for the change is the strict hazing rule. It is really sad when you can be put on probation for asking a New Boy to make your bed or get your sheets. No longer can you physically discourage a New Boy even if he hurls numerous, disrespectful insults at you. “Hell Night” has now become such a joke that Mr. Manning has to personally walk the New Boys from Anderson to the Walker Center. No physical contact whatsoever was allowed on this initiation night for the New Boys. Furthermore, New Boys were forbidden to do push-ups on stage. Afterwards, New Boys were saying how wimpy and boring it was. To tell you the truth I got a little bored of it after a while because all of the fun had been taken out of it. It seemed to me as though the treatment on the New Boys was essential to the school spirit and tradition at Woodberry.
Tradition is something that we are gradually losing here at Woodberry. First and foremost is the interaction between the New Boys and the sixth formers. Even though Woodberry was a lot less strict with hazing when this year’s sixth form clas were third formers, most, if not all, of the seniors best memories of Woodberry came from when they were “hazed” by the sixth form as New Boys. This interaction allowed for friendships to be made through respect and not through unfriendly circumstances. Though many teachers saw the “hazing” as bad, it actually brought the class together. School spirit was being promoted and all of the New Boys were taking part.
My hope is that the administration will abolish the severity of the hazing rule before the school becomes a body of four different groups with no unity between them. School spirit is being lost and we need to do something about it before it is too late.
– Spencer White