USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘seniority’
Adulthood
general

“You Can’t Sit Here”

Information on the Informant: The informant, Charlie Maloney, is currently a sophomore at USC studying engineering. He is 2o years old and is from Northern California. He attended De la Salle high school in Concord, California which is an all boys christian school. While there, he played rugby and was actively involved in activities on campus. Additionally, he is apart of a fraternity on campus. After attending an all boys school and being a part of a fraternity, Charlie really values the idea of brotherhood.

Informant: “When I was a senior at De la Salle, it was customary that all of us seniors sat at the same spot any time for lunch or a break. My friend group was filled with athletes and it was pretty clear that we were respected by a lot of people within the school. On a few occasions, we found that there were younger kids sitting in our spot. They would always move when we told them simply because they knew that we were older than them and that we sat there every day. However, on one occasion, they refused to move and we started yelling at them. The dean of men (a very authoritative and scary figure) came over and actually started yelling at the sophomores to get out of our spot as opposed to yelling at us for getting mad at the younger kids. Obviously they moved and we got our spot back.”

Analysis: This particular folklore of claiming a piece of land or spot because of seniority hits home for me simply because I also attended an all boys school and faced the same issue on some occasions. In a typical brotherhood it is customary that those who are older or have had more experience within the brotherhood get priority over things. In this case it was a table for lunch at a high school.

Initiations
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Junior Ring Ceremony

My informant described a yearly ceremony at her high school, Notre Dame Academy, Junior Ring Ceremony. This ceremony takes place at the end of the fall semester each year. This is when junior receive their class rings. Students do not have to purchase a traditional class ring, any ring is fine. Generally, students try to get rings with stones in their class color (red, blue, purple, or green). This ceremony is really only for juniors and their families. It’s at night and the girls are required to dress up and look nice. It consists of some short speeches from classmates and faculty, a song sung by the class, and the presentation of the rings. After the rings are given out, girls are supposed to get their rings turned 100 plus the year of your graduation times, so if you graduated in 2011, you needed to get your ring turned 111 times. Each time someone turns a ring, they’re asked to make a wish for the girl. The last turn is supposed to be saved for someone special, probably someone the student admires or who has been influential in her life.

My informant graduated in 2011 from Notre Dame Academy Girl’s High School in West Los Angeles, California. She currently attends UCLA in Westwood, California. Notre Dame Academy, often called NDA, is a Catholic, all girls school with many traditions the students participate in annually. My informant told me about one that every girl looks forward to as the ring ceremony is a reminder that senior year is approaching quickly. This ring ceremony seems rather unique to NDA, but I have heard of some other high schools have formal presentations of class rings.

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