Boathouse Jackets Foster School Spirit

Hedy Gutfreund Co Editor in Chief Latin students love to be stylish (see: fashion coverage below). But homogenous was never an adjective that could describe our personal fashion sense – until now. It’s hard to walk through the hallways without spotting someone in their spiffy new orange jacket. These jackets are a new tradition at the school, with the goal (at least according to Mr. Bower, whose idea it was) “to integrate new freshmen into the school.” It’s certainly not what we were expecting from a “surprise assembly” in the theater. I remember hearing hushed rumors and fear – “Are we getting uniforms?” “Why do Mr. Dunn and Mr. Graf both have those jackets on?” – to be uplifted by free swag. The irony of it is that the people around me in assembly were terrified that we were getting uniforms. Though the jackets are by no means compulsory, they do act as a kind of uniform, as the positive connotation of the word. We’re uniform when we wear them, because it brings us all together as a community. Such was Mr. Bower’s idea. I sat down with him to discuss the evolution of the proposition to give free Latin gear to new students, which ultimately evolved into the free jackets. He told me that one of his friends is an athletic director at another school, and, at that school, every incoming student receives a gym bag with gear from the school – a t-shirt, a water bottle, warm ups, baseball hat, etc. Mr. Bower was inspired by the idea and wanted to do something similar at Latin, but didn’t get the opportunity until recently. “I proposed it a number of different times,” he said, “and when we got a new headmaster, Mr. Dunn thought it was a good idea and was excited about it.” About the quick success of the jackets, Mr. Bower tells me, “It’s a good feeling. It seems like it’s the most visible item in that spirit shop. It looks very sharp; it’s good quality. I can see why students would like to have one.” He told me that he heard students in the hall saying that they had always wanted one of those, but he ultimately sees one important point: “I’m just happy to see more and more blue and orange around.” But right now, the jackets are fostering a whole new sense of spirit – and comfort. In terms of comfort, when the science center is unreasonably air-conditioned (AKA: the epitome of first world problems) or the fifth floor just feels a little chilly, it’s easy to pull out the weather-proof, wind-proof, athletic jacket. In terms of spirit, it shows our Roman pride wherever we go. The other day, I went out wearing my Latin jacket for the first time outside of Latin, and I have to admit that I felt pretty proud to be a Roman. Everyone seems to agree. Junior Affy Koungoulos reflects, “It was a very generous gift and a great way to really send home Mr. Dunn’s message of unity.” And that was the idea exactly.  ]]>