Photos from Greek and Roman Initiation

Claire C.
October 1, 2019

Since 1913, Westridge traditions have been bringing students of all divisions together. Certain traditions, such as Greeks and Romans, have been part of Westridge’s culture for nearly a century, making them an essential part of campus life.  The purpose behind such traditions is to build school spirit and encourage team bonding, but is the spirit and enthusiasm for these traditions waning?  


“Every year, teachers are given discretion to create Greek-Roman competitions in their classrooms,” Brittany Coker, Dean of Upper School Student Activities, explained. “Participation seems to be really, really high in most of these events,” Ms. Coker added. “I definitely think that the whole school is participating.” 


Student response has been mixed among the school divisions. Some students, particularly those in Lower School, have found the Greeks and Romans competition to be beneficial in regards to building lasting relationships.  Scarlett C. ’26 stated, “I think it’s pretty fun. We get to bond more because I don’t know the Greeks that well, so I feel like it’s kind of good that I get to meet new people.” 


Although the concept itself receives a positive response, the infrequency of the meetings and events could be the reason for a sense of disinterest in the Upper School. Mags G. ’22 stated, “I think it’s kind of stupid, and that if Westridge is going to bother having something like [Greek and Romans], then they should actually do something with it.” 


Jadyn I. ’22 recalls her Lower School experience, stating, “It’s more of a Lower School thing, definitely. I mean, during class we would scream whether we were Greek or Roman.” 


Other Upper School students support the Greek and Roman tradition, dressing head to toe in their team colors to display pride for the event. Some argue that it’s an integral part of Westridge culture. “I know that there are some traditions that are not as relevant, but I do think that Greeks and Romans is one that is an important and super fun tradition,” Phoebe J. ’21 explained. She later added that, “Just because I dress up in full yellow every year doesn’t mean that I love it love it every year, and I don’t think I’m super-hyped about it, but I just try and engage and bring my best energy to it ’cause it's fun for the Lower Schoolers.”


Althea L. ’20 and Zaynab E. ’20, Westridge’s Greek and Roman heads, also are ready to restore the excitement that once surrounded the initiation. “I think the Greek and Roman teams at Westridge really allow us to build community. I think the best part of Greeks and Romans is that it really includes everyone on campus, from all grade levels and even faculty too,” Althea explained. 


Traditions appear to be alive and well in the Lower School, with a special enthusiasm for the Big-Little Sisters events. In the past, bonds between Big and Little sisters had been strong, due in part to the frequency of their meetings, but because the event is held only once a quarter, for most students, the relationships they have created with upper- and lowerclassmen have been formed through activities outside of the Big-Little Sister meetings. 


This year, administrators decided to change the Big-Little Sister families and restore the old concept of Big-Little Sister pairings. During the first meeting of the year, students were introduced to their new families. “My group didn't really talk much—there were like three people who talked…everyone else was just really quiet,” Lindsay B. ’25 stated. The change in groups appeared to elicit mixed responses from individuals. “At first it’s kinda like a weird thing, like why are you changing up the group that you’ve already had for so long, but I also feel like we didn’t really know anyone in the other group anyway,” Rowena H. ’20 explained. For most students, the new groups itself presented to be a rocky transition, but the Big-Little Sister pairings received a generally optimistic response. “I think that because it’s two people, you can really connect a lot more with your little sister, as opposed to a group of five people, where you forget their names, and you don’t see them as much,” Amanda B. ’21 explained.