Recently I found out that my alma mater, Edina High School, is making a change to the school’s spirit organizations and most namely, the Hornettes dance team. Of course, with this introduction of change, a lot of heat and anger has been stirred up over this 58-year old organization to keep it the way it “is.”
I was a part of the Hornettes nearly ten years ago.
As you can guess, the main focus of the Hornettes is dance. But another large focus is tradition. And the Hornettes (at least back in my day) had a tradition of harassing new members until they were “initiated” into respected members of the team.
If you break it down—it was bullying at it’s lowest. I am not going to dive in to specifics right now, but the new member period included verbal abuse, humiliation and physical mistreatment. Think, “eye for an eye” as this happened to them, so they passed the negative behavior and hierarchy on. Looking back, it is sickening to think that kids could be capable of doing these terrible things to their peers while the administration and parents turned a blind eye.
During my time on the dance team, it really felt like I was the only one experiencing this negatively. As many of you can tell, I am sensitive and a heart-based feeler, thus I tend to take things harder than the norm. But it would shock me to think that no one else found what was happening on the dance line to be wrong.
Maybe you’re thinking why couldn’t I have quit? Left? Given up? Spoken up about this earlier when it was happening to me? I was a child in high school. I wanted to fit in. I did not know who I was. My teenage years were blanketed with insecurity and I couldn’t see beyond the immediate hallways, stadiums and parties of high school.
I didn’t want to be the squeaky wheel, even though I knew I should have done something more. Now, I have to release my feelings that I’ve been ignoring and suppressing in that pit of ignorance and self-hatred. I am speaking out just in case that this could still be happening to another young girl. And I want encourage everyone to stand up for what’s right. You know what’s right.
I hope there are other women out there now, who experienced this that would have the courage to speak out in support to reinvigorate the Hornettes brand. If bullying is still happening to new members (and to be fair, I am not privy to that information), it needs to stop. Just because you experienced it, and it is “tradition” does not make it right. Be the squeaky wheel.
I support Edina High School’s new “spirit squad” endeavor for the 2012-13 school year and beyond. I believe that the Hornettes should remain a dance team if they make some serious changes. All Edina High School is asking for is collaboration, more connection throughout the school groups and an overall sense of togetherness. Here are a few key ideas from the press release:
Promote collaboration and continuity between all Spirit Squad teams, including the Edina pep band, sideline cheer, comp cheer, mascot, hip hop dance team, fall dance team and winter dance team.
As a result of the reorganization, there will be an increase in the number of students who are able to participate in cheer activities in an effort to better reflect and engage the entire student body of Edina High School.
All teams will share common expectations and goals and all will complete a community service component of the program.
Read the full press release here.
How can you not stand behind togetherness, collaboration, and community?
Start a new tradition, with the same dance line. You can still have fun, dance your heart out, be crazy high school kids, but it’s time to remember we are all humans that deserve respect, understanding and joy. It’s time to do what’s right.
Be the change. Make it better.
Here is my follow up to this post, Speaking Up When You’re Bullied, in School and Beyond – featured on tinybuddha