What has happened to color day? Has the Langley institution actually been weakened? Has principal Matthew Ragone finally won the "War on Color?"
These are the questions I ask myself as I hear from my high school friends that this year’s homecoming pep rally at Langley High School, (Oct. 14) a.k.a. the formerly infamous “color day,” was a largely black-only success with only minimal attempts at mayhem.
Students actually participated in the school-sponsored “black out” day and only a decent part of the senior class wore the once proud senior red-only outfit.
Through threats of suspension up to 5 days, Langley Principal Matthew Ragone and his administration took large steps to insure that last year’s insanity was not repeated.
As I understand, one of the goals of the Ragone administration was to stymie the honored tradition of color day by the time his first freshmen class, the class of 2012 who came to Langley at the same time he did, graduated. This goal may have been accomplished.
There are tons of tales of color day that have been passed down through generations of Langley students. There is a story of a senior class in the 80s, whose color was white at the time, who got the entire student body wet and then proceeded to throw flour and white feathers at them. How intricate is that?
My brother, in Langley’s class of 2000, joyfully told me endless stories of his conquests and tribulations that he went underwent as a student during color day. Color day has been an institution of Langley High School for decades and had become a staple of the high school’s culture.
I am a graduate of the Langley class of 2010 and now a 19-year-old sophomore at Virginia Tech. I loved color day and every aspect of it when I was at Langley. It was fun, a memory of high school never forgotten.
It was a way for the upperclassmen to show the younger classes the pecking order at the high school and also a way build unity within each class.
When I was there the freshmen were green, sophomores were yellow, juniors were blue and the seniors were red. For a high school that has seemingly always lacked a strong spirit, it was one of the only major events that brought the school together. After color day my freshmen year, it was the first time I felt like I was actually in high school.
Yet, the activities during color day were never the nicest things to do. As colleges and high schools have condemned hazing, color day definitely became a target.
It became a notorious event where vandalism and hazing outshined the camaraderie and fun around which color day was centered. Kids would be sent home because they were covered by paint, mustard, jello, etc.
Finally, the administration decided to end the event called color day in the 2009-10 school year, MY SENIOR YEAR, and call the last day of homecoming “unity day.” It was super lame and no one participated.
Ultimately, that was the response Ragone’s administration predicted, and they continued to ban color day. Another year passed and once again students gave their retribution.
Still, the overall plan has worked: the class of 2012 held back. The “Blackout” day was a victory, as can be seen by this video of the teachers participating in a dancing flash mob during the pep rally.
What makes this video even better is that several of the teachers dancing were my popular teachers of old, like Suzanne Schettini, my history teacher, and Vincent Worthington, my spanish teacher.
Maybe this is the future of Langley’s homecoming pep rallies.
Shawn Ghuman was president of the Langley class of 2010. He now attends Virginia Tech. He lives in McLean. He writes for McLean Patch.