The New Convocation: Reflecting on an Age-Old Latin Tradition

Eriko Darcy & I’deyah Ricketts Even though many Latin students have been to countless Convocations, how many know its origins? Convocation is a tradition, started in the 80’s by Frank Hogin, in an effort to bring all three schools of Latin together under one roof. Hogin’s ideals have been passed down to our current principal, Mr. Dunn, and the advisor of convocation, Mr. Cronister. Both believe in creating a sense of community amongst all three Latin divisions. Every year since the 80’s, the Latin School of Chicago takes one day to come together in unison. “I’ve been doing it for 8-­10 years and we’ve tried to grow it over the last 3 years by adding buddy activities,” said Mr. Cronister. “We’ve been trying to make it a deeper connection for the kids, but this year I had to be creative since we couldn’t use Moody church, as it was under construction. The older kids like everyone coming together.. it’s tradition for them,” adds Cronister. He has tried to evolve Convocation by adding buddy activities to the program, which enables the upper school to be models for the lower school student they buddy with. Still, the tradition of Convocation has been kept with the singing of the “Fight Song”, Mr. Dunn listing his school goals, and the all­-around kick off of a new school year. And, as years pass by, Mr. Cronister believes that Convocation will always stay a tradition. “We don’t have many traditions at Latin,” he explains, “so I think it [will] continue for a long time. In the old days, we wouldn’t spend time together as a school, but that’s changed. [The rest of the year] we have two or three more opportunities to come together as a school, so Convocation is important to us.” Coming into Latin as a freshman and seeing the unity displayed in Convocation as the whole school comes together not only replicates the 1980 ideals from Hogin, but accentuates the community Latin immerses itself in. It is evident how excited and enthusiastic students are to participate and take on a role in their school. This year, Convocation was a bit different from previous years due to the renovation of Moody Bible Church. When asking a senior what she thought about her Convocation experience this year, she said, “given the circumstances, the school did the best they could to organize something that would work, but it was a different sort of feeling.” When asking her about why it felt different and how it had changed, she said, “I feel like people in general take it a little less seriously partly because [the Convocation ceremony] has become shorter each year. Now it just feels like a spirit day. It started with our 125th year, and we were always wearing orange and blue and that was when they gave up on ‘dressiness.’” It seems as though Convocation has changed and altered itself into a day of spirit and pride, and lost its main focus of being a day of connection between the Lower, Middle, and Upper School. One senior says, “people will get mad at me for this, but I think [convocation] can be a longer and more involved event. It should be a big deal. More people should be invested in this event. My experience this year seemed a bit detached.” Convocation may mean different things to different people, but the sole purpose for this ceremony is to unify people and positively influence each other. So whether you enjoy convocation or wish it were longer, remember that it is a key part in starting off our school year on an inclusive and spirited note!]]>