Current homecoming traditions make Terrace safer and more inclusive


Athletics Director/Activities Coordinator, Kim Stewart

In the summer of 1995 I made one of the best decisions in my life (I know you all weren’t even born yet) – I accepted the job of the Activities/Athletic Director at MTHS.

I went from teaching five full-time health classes, to a world you can’t describe in a short article.

As I sat at the Homecoming dance last month (the 10th time I’ve spent my anniversary at the dance), I started thinking back and writing some stuff down for fun. Homecoming was a five-week process. We used to take up three full classes for nominations, primary elections and final voting. We had a speeches assembly, the Coronation Assembly was during the day and the Homecoming Assembly lasted more than two hours.

And hazing, at the time, was a major part, tradition and accepted practice. You can call it what you want, but that always seemed to be the dark cloud that hung over the last day of Homecoming. We walked around pretending we were all this one big happy family during Homecoming until that Friday.

By the time the assembly started I was always sick to my stomach from watching the acceptance of this practice by our school – even by those involved in this new program we started in the fall of ’97 called “Link Crew.”

Over the past few years we have seen hazing almost completely disappear. It wasn’t easy, believe me. Now I am not one to publicly bash the past, but you can ask any staff member who has been here as long as I have what it was like and what was done about it.

History has taught us that positive change takes someone to stand up and say enough is enough! Our change came in the form of a new principal about 10 years ago who took a lot heat because some thought he was taking away a “tradition.” Well, my pre-Homecoming Assembly stomach aches are gone and that was no tradition.

So, why is this now an important part of MTHS History?

I have a lot of friends at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Staff I have worked with at the state level of student leadership and students I have met at Leadership Camp. So, last Friday was one of the worst days I can ever remember. Everyone knows it takes all of us working together and respecting each other to even try to prevent these tragedies from happening. We can only speculate what happened at MPHS and other schools in America that have been forced to deal with this type of tragedy.

I do know that if we continue to work at eliminating things like hazing from any part of school life we are eliminating one reason for the chance of it happening here.

Please take a minute to think a positive thought, pray, meditate, whatever works for you, for those at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Go Hawks!

Note: The Hawkeye provides the MTHS Athletics and Activities office space each issue in the Op/Ed section as part of our mission as a designated open public forum.