Like most high schools, Hopkins is governed by social and academic norms, but these norms evolve over time. According to the Class of 2016, life at Hopkins was much different when they were younger. When some of the Senior Class was asked about their experience as freshmen, they were happy to share their input on how Hopkins has changed, and what should be brought back.
One of the most common words heard when talking to the Hopkins seniors was in fact, ‘Seniors’: “The seniors are definitely less respected,” remarked Emma Weiss ’16. “Back [when we were freshmen], they were considered almost holy.” It seems that the younger grades’ respect for the seniors has taken a slightly different path. Seniors thought that when they were freshmen they respected the seniors much more than the way they are being treated now.
Some freshmen were asked their opinions in order to see the other side of the argument. “I feel as if I didn’t know the seniors as much in seventh grade,” said Katie Broun ’19. “Now, since I know more seniors, I respect them more and understand that they are just as hardworking and fun to be around as any other grade.” The respect for the seniors increases as the younger grades are more familiar with them; however, there are fewer opportunities for these interactions to happen in the younger grades today.
Asked how intergrade relations have changed over the years, Ethan Lester ‘16 observed, “I feel the closeness between grades is more fragmented. People were friendlier with each other between grades when I was a freshman.” The grades were more integrated four or five years ago; therefore, while now the grades are less familiar with each other, they are more enveloped in their own social groups.
Seniors also touched upon the lack of Hilltopper spirit in some of the younger grades. They noted that underclassmen were not signing up for the Canned Food Drive, not wearing the Hopkins colors on Maroon and Grey day, or forgetting to participate in Spirit Week. “Many Hopkins events are powered mostly by seniors,” commented Lauren Antonelli ’16. “Even Ski Lodge Day, which used to be a big thing, is now mostly celebrated by seniors.”
Some students worried that many of the iconic Hopkins traditions will die out as the seniors graduate, and that they are the ones who possess the most Hopkins spirit. Katie Broun ‘19 stated: “Personally, I think that the Hopkins spirit is stronger in the seniors because it is their last year of all being together and also being at Hopkins.”
Another topic touched repeatedly upon by the seniors was how the school has addressed more current issues around the world. Many believed that Hopkins is doing a great job with its Conversations on Race, as well as in welcoming back of alumni/ae in order for them to share their stories. Meghan Podolsky ’16 remarked, “Over the years, the Administration has been progressively more swift in addressing problems that affect student life, on and off The Hill, rather than refusing to acknowledge them altogether.”
Hopkins is making an effort to address these topics as they become relevant to the school. This stimulates conversation on topics that can be even more important than some things we learn in normal classes. “I think that as a school, we have fostered a lot more school-wide discussion about certain topics,” noted Thomas Halverson ’16. “Last year, we focused on technology and this year, race, whereas when I was a freshman, there was a lot less discussion about these things as a school.”
As the world is changing, Hopkins has been affected both socially and academically to form a school that complies to these new standards. Whether it is with race, technology, or sexuality, Hopkins either makes an effort, or naturally has conversations about how it affects the student body as a whole.