This past week, Berkeley High students participated in a Unity Week where the entire school cohesively dressed a certain theme each day. Many students, teachers, and faculty were both excited and worried for this week. Unity Week was organized and executed by Associated Student Body leadership.
According to a U9 teacher at BHS, Hasmig Minassian, the objective of Unity Week was to give students an opportunity to participate, have fun, and to unite.
“I don’t support the unity week when the students start crossing the line and taking it from a fun school event to coming to class under the influence and rallying,” Minassian said. “I think whenever students are feeling outside the boundaries of day to day academic school then it seems some students take it as a form of permission to be more casual and the casual nature leads to sexual assault and sexual harassment.”
Isla Petty, a BHS freshman, similarly expressed both her concerns and excitement for Unity Week and Red and Gold Day. She mentioned how her fear and others’ should not be normalized.
“Overall Rally Day and Red and Gold Day are the same exact thing. No matter how the school rebrands it, everyone’s actions and behavior will stay the same,” Petty said. “At this point, it’s too deep of a tradition to change anything. I think there will always be drinking, smoking, and hazing. There’s not much Berkeley High can do.”
Petty thinks that school pride is important, but it is also important to remain aware of the darker parts of the event. Petty hopes everyone can have a safe Red and Gold Day this year with no major consequences.
Sydney Lehrer, a BHS freshman, shared her worries on freshman hazing.
According to Lehrer, Freshman Friday was intense and not an enjoyable experience. Due to the fact that seniors and juniors were yelling chants in the hallways, Lehrer felt intimidated. She worried that Unity Week was going to be the same thing in the sense that there may be hazing. She also talked about how annoying egging was and how scary it was during lunch.
“I’m scared I’ll get egged on or screamed at by an upperclassman. I’m really not looking forward to the Friday of Unity Week since that’s Red and Gold Day and am not going in the breeze at all. I definitely will be begging my parents for a ride home so I don’t have to walk past mobs with eggs.” Lehrer had said.
BHS celebrated Halloween by dressing up in costumes as a part of Unity Week. Students who wore costumes went all out from the kind of makeup they did (spooky and festive), to their costumes. People dressed up as things such as inflatable dinosaurs and cows, fairies, pirates, ladybugs, comic book characters, ghosts, and vampires just to name a few. The variety of the costumes demonstrated how creative and crafty BHS students can really be, especially students who made their costumes themselves. Lots of classes shared candy while doing work and engaged in Halloween related activities.
Slideshow photography by Nolan Whitehill and Eliot Hertenstein.