Go Home Freshmen: Custom or Cruelty?

Ashley Jann, Staff Reporter

At some point in your high school career, you have sat in the school gym watching the homecoming pep rally. Now think back to your freshman year, experiencing your first school-wide event as a high schooler, feeling your excitement rise. It may have only been a year, or even three years ago, but many remember the chant. If you don’t, let me refresh your memory: “GO HOME FRESHMEN,” followed by thunderous stomps.

It has been an on again-off again “traditional” chant at Southern Lehigh for over 15 years. The controversy behind this social construct is widely talked about among students, teachers, and administrators, but is it truly a malicious act?

“It didn’t make me feel great at first, but it’s not that big of a deal,” freshman Kyle Hoff said. “You kind of just have to go through it.”

As a freshman, students really don’t have much say in the events that happen around the school. There is no senior privilege, or even one year of “superiority.” The common belief seems to be that one must go through the chant in order to do it in the future; students must experience the cheer to be a part of the school.

“I thought it was something I had to go through,” senior Calvin Hurst said. “It’s part of being a freshman. I laughed about it.”

Seniors Kevin Publicover and Sean Welsh agreed, and had no hard feelings about the chant.

Among the students, there is a widespread opinion that there is no true harm in performing the chant. Even students who went through the ordeal just the previous year felt unconcerned emotions about this tradition.

“It was kinda awkward, but it made me feel like I was more part of the high school,” sophomore Max Johnston said. “I was experiencing high school.”

“It feels like a relatively harmless passage to me,” English teacher Mr. Joseph Castagna said. “I remember getting to high school and being excited to be a part of what was going on. Even getting picked on by seniors made me feel like I was part of the club, and in turn I couldn’t wait to be a senior and pick on freshmen. I might be behind the times, but it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.”

Of course, there are also the faculty members who disapprove of the cheer. Southern Lehigh High School principal, Mrs. Christine Siegfried, believes that all classes are equal and should be treated as such.

“It is not a tradition that we should feel proud of,” Mrs. Siegfried said. “We are far better Spartans than this, and we should show our respect for one another and unite as a school body to show our Spartan spirit.”

Negativity is assumed from the shout, but the students chanting it never put outward hate behind it. Though freshmen do not understand what to do at first, and may feel highly awkward, the chant is not the big focus of the year.

Advice to this year’s freshmen, and any upcoming future freshmen: take the chant lightheartedly. Besides, have you ever considered a counter chant?