Folk Tradition

Don’t Step on the B

Dmitri is a teacher at Bellarmine College Preparatory and an alumnus of the class of 1998. While we are both very familiar with the tradition surrounding the “B” I interviewed trying to see if he could offer any more insight. The “B” is a blue and white tile art piece located in Leo J. Lucas Quad of the campus. The tradition at school is that no student should ever step on the B out of respect. The “B” is visible in the bottom right corner of the picture above. The guardians of the “B” are a group of senior friends who sit on the stone bench at break and lunch protecting the “B”. Dmitri feels the “B” is just another unique part of the campus which makes our school so great. He is particularly fond of the “B” as his office window looks just outside where the “B” is located. This school has a long tradition of school pride and in a way it is reflected in the way the “B” is treated. The “B” has been there for as long as Dmitri could remember. He does not recall how this tradition got started but it has been alive and well for many years.

Dmitri went on to say that the pride of the school has always been something special to him and he is glad that the “B” is treated with such respect. Bellarmine is a proud institution that has been around for over 150 years and is respected by people throughout the bay area, California and the country for our achievement in academics, athletics, speech and debate and robotics. The pride and passion we have for our school is displayed in the fact that we respect our campus and a prime example of this would be the tradition of not stepping on the “B”.

I also have a particular inclination toward the “B” because my senior year my friends and I would serve as the guardians of the “B”. If any unknowing freshmen would step on the “B” we would be quick to yell at them and reprimand and remind them never to do it again. There are no consequences such as bad luck for seven years that you might find in other superstitions but it is still highly discouraged. I feel this piece is also an example of occupational folklore. Those that are upperclassmen know already of the tradition, the freshmen are ignorant to this ritual. So, even if it takes them being yelled at us to not step on the “B” after learning this they become a part of the group because they know the traditions involved with the school.