Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School was united by the school colors Oct. 5 for the culmination of Spirit Week — Blue and Gold Day, which replaced the popular but unruly Color Day.
School spirit was visible last Friday in the halls, which students decorated with blue and gold posters, streamers and tinsel. Most students wore blue and gold class shirts, personalized blue and gold outfits or street clothing.
Principal Karen Lockard stood alongside staff in the morning, watching students enter the building to prevent “storming.” In the past, seniors began the day by assembling in the school parking lot and running through the school in a large, boisterous group.
“More than 90 percent of the students wore school colors, so many, that by mid-morning a few came looking for a blue and gold T-shirt so they could fit in with the majority,” Lockard wrote in an email. “The sight of the students in their school colors at the bleachers was heartwarming.”
Administrators at B-CC followed through on last year’s promise to cancel Color Day, the final event in a weeklong series of themed days leading up to the annual homecoming football game, after incidents of alcohol abuse and violence last year. Spirit Week started Oct. 1 and culminated Oct. 5.
In previous years, each graduating class chose a color and wore shirts representing their individual class, spending the day “tagging” each other with paint or markers in their class colors. To replace Color Day, which was instituted within the last 10 years, administrators revived a decades-old tradition of wearing the school colors. Seniors were set apart by wearing class shirts that are gold with blue. All other classes wore blue with gold.
In a letter to parents from Lockard and PTSA President Michelle Hainbach, they warned that students attempting to perpetuate Color Day would be asked to change their clothing, and students who engaged in hazing, intimidation or other unruly behavior at school or in the community would be sent home and banned from homecoming events.
Police were not called to the school, but circled the parking lots periodically Friday, as per the school’s request, wrote Lockard, who anticipates that Blue and Gold Day will be continued next year. Seven students were asked to change their clothing, and none were barred from participating in homecoming events.
Last year on Color Day, Montgomery County police were called to the school at 8:45 a.m. and issued citations to three students for drinking on school property.
Police were called to the school again at noon when a fight began between two students broke out during a class. When asked the cause of the fight, students reportedly blamed Color Day, according to police. A second assault reportedly took place in a school hallway during Color Day, police reported. Students were walking down the hall in a crowd, chanting slogans that made reference to their class, when a student was struck in the groin.
B-CC students this year responded the way Lockard knew they would, they put Color Day to rest, she wrote.
“One small group of students grouped on the outside of the fence at the stadium and hung a hand-made banner that read “RIP COLOR DAY,” she wrote. “They get it. They have laid it to rest.”