The long-lasting impact and importance of traditions


Brook Wenande

A few of BSM’s traditions are at graduation every year.

When students reflect on their time at BSM, it is the traditions that they remember. Memories of football games, pep rallies, and school plays trump memories of more mundane high school experiences. Students and administrators feel that implementing more of these traditions would help create a better sense of belonging at school.

Freshman orientation is the first tradition for new Red Knights. To commemorate their initiation into the BSM community, new students run under a gauntlet of cheering teachers, orientation leaders, and red pom poms. “The idea of [the gauntlet] is really welcoming the freshmen in, making them feel important and that we’re excited for them,” math teacher and orientation leader Mary Seppala said.

Although students appreciate the gauntlet, some feel the orientation experience could be revamped. As a college-preparatory school, BSM is always striving to better prepare students for higher education. At most colleges, orientation events begin earlier in the year, and students have different opportunities to socialize over the summer. Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Dennis Draughn thinks that implementing a similar orientation program would help incoming freshmen feel more comfortable in the BSM community. “By the time you get here, you know what it takes to be a Red Knight. You already feel a sense of belonging, instead of meeting people for the first time,” Draughn said.

Draughn hopes that students interested in implementing new traditions will petition the administration and take initiative to make change. “It should always be student driven and student focused. Let the students guide that,” Draughn said.

Just as freshman orientation welcomes students into the BSM community, senior traditions celebrate the high school accomplishments of the graduating class. Seniors chant at the end of mass, skip finals week, and walk through the gauntlet again at graduation. “As the seniors are walking out, we’re all in a tunnel, and we’re clapping for them. That’s what we do when you come [to BSM], and we do it again when you leave,” Seppala said.

Sporting events offer another way to cultivate community and school spirit. Students feel united in their support for the team, and athletes appreciate the students’ cheers. “It’s really fun because it shows that they support you,” volleyball captain Molly Voss said.

In addition to boosting the attendance at sports games, Draughn hopes to incite some friendly competition. This can bring students together, united against another school. BSM’s conference added three new members this year (New Prague, Winona, and Orono); Draughn sees this as an opportunity to spark a rivalry. A traveling trophy or other prize could raise the stakes for the teams and encourage spirited competition. “We played Orono for the first time, so we could do a trophy that is a sword and a stone because they are the Spartans and we are the Knights. It would be a traveling trophy back and forth,” Draughn said.

Sports games are important, but they are not the only extracurricular traditions at BSM. Students participate in mock trial, Speech, and Debate tournaments, choir concerts, art exhibits, and school plays. Extending traditions to incorporate non-athletic events would help all groups of students feel part of the school community. Junior Bianca Mojica has participated in the theater program since seventh grade, and it is the theater’s traditions that have helped her feel connected to the school community. “Before every show, we like to get together as a cast and go down to the choir room and do warm ups together. The traditions really build up connections between the cast…it’s a connection that you feel within the room,” Mojica said.

The goal is to create traditions that transcend a student’s high school years. “This school is always going to be your school. If you have that sense of belonging, you will always have some kind of connection to this school, even long after. Once a RedKnight, always a RedKnight,” Draughn said.