THHS set to celebrate modified Founders’ Day following restrictions

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Founders’ Day, an annual ceremony commemorating the founding of Townsend Harris High School, will be held tomorrow, November 12. Students will attend no classes that day and, per tradition, incoming students will take the Ephebic Oath, a pledge that all Harrisites have made to serve the community. Students, faculty, and guest alumni will be in attendance both in-person and virtually.

“[By taking the Ephebic Oath], you are now connected to generations of Harrisites. You now represent us, and being welcomed into a community is an important rite of passage,” said Principal Brian Condon. 

Principal Condon, a member of the planning committee, explained that he grew up in Brentwood, a small town in Long Island, and had a drastically different high school experience than that of THHS students. As a result, he believes it is important that the school maintains a tight-knit community. 

The ceremony will be held in the school auditorium instead of Colden Auditorium in Queens College. 

Like in previous years, all classes will report to their second band class for attendance. However, due to COVID and occupancy limitations, only seniors will be attending Founders’ Day live in-person in the auditorium, whereas underclassmen and juniors will attend the ceremony in their official classes. There, they will watch a livestream of the event on their classroom SmartBoards. Freshmen will recite the Ephebic Oath in the sixth floor hallway. 

Students shared thoughts on the location plan. 

Senior Annie Han, who is not participating in this year’s Senior Skit, said, “For me, it’s kind of depressing, and Founders’ Day is supposed to be very fun, because you could see everyone’s reaction at once in the auditorium. The experience is different because everyone will see it in different locations, and will have different reactions to the ceremony.”

Many sophomores and juniors also expressed their preference to watch the events in-person. 

“Since last year it was online, I think it is important, as a ninth-grader, that I watch the events in person,” said freshman Ariyan Abdin. “I also think it is important that tenth-graders who haven’t been to Founders’ Day in-person also attend.”

Sophomore Daniel Yin said,“I believe that sophomores just seeing the events on the SmartBoards would not let them fully visualize and take in the experience of the event.”

Despite this year’s limitations, students will still have an opportunity to honor THHS’ history, traditions and culture as well as celebrate those who have “left the city better than they found it.” “It’s a strengthening process—your four years at Townsend Harris,” Mr. Condon concluded. 

Artwork by Jackie Chen