Founders’ Day: Homecoming for Harrisites?

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By Kelly Jiang and Marcella Soewignjo, Staff Writers

For most American high schools, traditions like homecoming and prom are part of the stereotypical experience. Homecoming dances generate a lot of excitement, as students frantically scramble to find dates and outfits to prepare for this annual “returning to school” dance. Harrisites, however, do not experience this; rather we have an entirely different tradition: Founder’s Day. 

Founder’s Day is a time to honor our school’s history and current culture through skits, alumni speeches, games, and music. The incoming freshmen, sophomores, and new teachers officially become Harrisites by reciting the Ephebic Oath. Freshman Joyce Ke said, “The Ephebic Oath is a vow to work together as a team in this school.” The oath can also be applied outside of school, as it encourages students to give back to the community and to “not leave [their] city any less but rather greater than [they] found it.”

For some students, Founder’s Day is a significant event on its own. “Founder’s Day is different. HOCO is about … welcoming back, but Founder’s Day is like the history of our school and commemorating it,” said senior Shane Werther. 

However, some students feel as if they are missing out. Junior Fabiha Samiha said, “As someone with older siblings who either went to or currently go to high schools that offer homecoming dances, I was a little disappointed when I started Townsend and missed out an experience that not only my siblings talked about every year, but also this cliché event that I’ve read about in numerous books and watched in so many movies and shows.” 

“I think that homecoming is definitely a special tradition for high school, so I feel a little upset about our school not offering a homecoming dance. I think that homecoming is more interactive and exciting,” sophomore Angela Chen added.  

Meanwhile, many also don’t feel as if they are missing out on much. “School dances aren’t that big of a deal to me. I’m not planning to go to prom anyway, so homecoming wouldn’t change anything either,” junior Edison Park said. 

Regardless, Founder’s Day holds a special significance to the Harrisites. “It’s the first time the whole school is really in one place at a time,” Shane said. 

“As the years go by, I find each senior skit more relatable than the last, each roll call louder than the previous. With each Founder’s Day, you’ll find yourself being ingrained deeper into the culture and atmosphere of the school,” junior Hali Huang said. “I remember the courageous yell we made and the prideful roars of our upperclassmen during our first roll call. To me, Founder’s Day is greater than any homecoming dance we could ever have.”

Photo Courtesy of Jason Bacalla