Rally Day Likely To Be Cancelled
In upcoming meetings, BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi will give teachers and administrators the long–awaited answer to a much–debated question — will there be a Rally Day next year?
Due to complaints and safety issues, the decision is leaning towards no.
Although the verdict won’t be final until late January or early February, Scuderi says it’s likely that Rally will be cancelled.
Teachers and administrators are in agreement that something needs to be done about Rally. “That’s the reason we’re really considering making a change,” said Scuderi.
Complaints from BHS staff come from recently mounting concern and frustration about Rally.
While it is their responsibility to ensure students’ safety, there comes a point when teachers get sick of taking care of intoxicated students.
“Students need to understand that underage substance use is not acceptable at any time,” said John Villavicencio, Director of Student Activities. “Plain and simple, celebrating one’s excitement for the pride of our school does not equate with drinking and drug use.”
According to Scuderi, the most recent Rally seemed particularly problematic in terms of illegal substances.
Scuderi says that this might have been the result of staff making an effort this year to enforce school policy on drugs and alcohol “a little harder.”
In addition to having problems with drugs and alcohol, the 2012 Rally was characterized by a spirit of aggression, rather than school pride.
“We’ve always had Rally pitched to us as though it’s some sort of unifying event,” said Scuderi.
This year, however, instead of enthusiastic chanting and support for various classes, fights broke out in the hallways between students in different grades.
Scuderi believed that positive school spirit was replaced with tension and potentially dangerous situations.
“That sort of undermines that argument for me,” he said. Despite this, Villavicencio does see the good aspects of the energy at Rally, and the positive things that come from it.
He said that “it also allows an outlet for creative expression.” Both Scuderi and Villavicencio agree that the current format for Rally is not ideal, but that they wish to keep the spirit behind the event alive.
“I’m for considering any option out there that would create a feeling of unity,” Scuderi said. “We’ve got a very unique place that’s worthy of celebrating — we’ve just got to find more positive and productive ways to do it.”
Villavicencio in particular is interested in moving forward with reinventing Rally, to make it a safer event but with the same goals to celebrate BHS.
He regards as ideal a day on which all BHS students, regardless of their differences, can come together and be able to share their talent and individuality.
“In my vision, I see this day of unity being a display of our artistic and athletic talent, a chance to bond with all members of the school, and also a chance to reflect upon how we can all contribute to a greater Berkeley High,” Villavicencio said.
Along with the student leadership team, Scuderi and other staff members plan to create an event that can achieve these goals.