a little something about respecting elders

My sleep schedule is a mess. Rather than waking up at 4:45 am to get to swim practice on time, college-Carmen doesn’t go to bed until 1 am and wakes up around 9:30, in enough time to get to her 10 am class. So there I was, hanging out and my twitter feed became an explosion of Johnston High School students talking about JoPo and homecoming TP-ing.

This year, the seniors decided to allow all grades, freshman, sophomores and juniors, to join them in a tradition that has stood at JHS. Memories of last year’s homecoming week flashed back into my mind and I was genuinely happy that the entire student body was participating. It sounded like it was such a bonding experience and a part of me wished that I could have been there. I knew to expect nothing but pictures of a white Christmas in the morning to follow.

This morning, I got a text from my mom, attached the photo posted above. (I assume my sister took it and sent it to her on her way into the parking lot this morning.) What confused me is what my mom texted to me: They got them bad…cancelled the readings, assemblies, etc.

Every year, Johnston gets TP-ed and the only form of punishment is that the students who get caught have to clean it up. So I was confused as to why the pep assembly was cancelled and the athlete-elementary school readings were cancelled. That was until I got the full story.

As an alum, I am ashamed that what took place last night was more than just TP-ing the trees surrounding our school. Destroying the football field, press box, stadium paintings, school windows and tipping port-potties is embarrassing. And I know it was not the entire population of last night’s events that took things too far but the actions of few deface many. Homecoming is about having pride in your school and coming from a student attending the college who invented homecoming, I can tell you that vandalism is not something that comes to mind when I think about celebrating alums who come back to enjoy the school they once were apart of.

Dragon Nation, remember that these reputations spread to far away lands. You may think you are just another small midwestern high school, and to an extent that may be true, but you as an individual are much more than that. Those little kids in the elementary schools looked forward to their heroes reading to them today. You looked forward to Mr. JHS and the pep assembly that I hope instilled Dragon pride in your souls during previous years. So why ruin it? Why risk all of that innocent, high school fun for something that was taken way too far?

To be blunt, I am glad I chose to stay in Columbia for Johnston’s homecoming this weekend. Not because I no longer have pride for my high school but because I am honestly embarrassed for that small group of people who decided to take advantage of an opportunity.

If you are a current student at JHS you are probably thinking to yourself, “Why should we care about what Carmen has to say? And why does she care anyways, she’s in college now.”

Well, I care because Johnston is a part of me and always will be. Yeah, I love college – wouldn’t trade it for the world – but I also want the future of Johnston to have a good reputation. And I know that the drama in the past few years has, in large part, been a problem with administrative decisions and maybe that has caused students to lash out. But if you take anything away from this, just know – you all are better than this, and you deserve more than this, and so do your homecoming alums.

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