Courtwarming theme creates tension among school, community members


Photo by Dalton Nunamaker

Nikol Slatinska

The 2017 courtwarming theme, Rock Bridge High Society, has divided the school’s population, as some believe it is not inclusive of all students. In total, Student Council members presented three theme ideas: Sportwarming, Boardwarming and Rock Bridge High Society. The student body voted and chose the latter.
Although students ultimately decided on the theme through voting, senior Katie Kirchhofer, however, believes Rock Bridge High Society’ shouldn’t have been an option to begin with.
When I saw the theme I was honestly in disbelief. I felt, in addition to many other people, excluded from what is going on in our school,” Kirchhofer said. “Courtwarming used to be something that everyone could get excited about being involved in from any social group, but this year the only people that are truthfully excited about this thing are people that are, in fact, already a part of Rock Bridge ‘High Society.’ Instead of bringing every friend group together, one culture was singled out and is indirectly being portrayed as a desirable status.”
Senior Student Council member Molly Gunter agrees with Kirchhofer that the theme is not ideal, but not for the same reasons.
“I personally am not a fan of the specific days. The original idea and premise for the theme was awesome but the days fell short,” Gunter said. “They all seem very similar to each other, and it’s hard to get creative with them.”
As for voting on the theme, Gunter likes the prospect of letting students have a say in the decision, but is unsure about whether or not most people knew they had that privilege. French teacher Kristin Reed said that because students got to vote on the theme, there isn’t really much cause for protest.
“I think that society, and the world today, makes it easy for someone to want to protest something. I was not aware that there were any students protesting the theme,” Reed said. “It’s my understanding that it was voted for, and the Student Council represents their peers, as they were also voted for. Courtwarming as a week is full of fun events, crowning of the Court and support for our basketball team. It seems like this ‘protest’ would definitely take away from that.”
Reed does not remember a theme as unique as Rock Bridge High Society. She likes that it relates to courtwarming in that it’s a ‘court’ with a King and Queen, who, in a real monarchy, represent the upper class. Even though Kirchhofer is opposed to the theme, she will still participate in it to bring attention to its partisanship.
“I do not plan to attend the courtwarming dance, but I will try to participate in some of the themed days with a more inclusive take on the theme,” Kirchhofer said. “I’m planning on being more inclusive by taking the term ‘high society’ to mean things that are physically high in the sky, so I plan on dressing as that kind of stuff: birds, planes, planets, Amelia Earhart, clouds, stewardesses … that kind of stuff.  Something anyone can get into.”
In spite of Kirchhofer’s and other students’ disapproval of ‘high society,’ Gunter doesn’t mind a little opposition, saying it’s impossible to please everyone. But Kirchhofer is far from just displeased, and she does not think the idea behind the theme is not a laughing matter.
“The gap between family incomes within RBHS is far too great to be making light of the situation, and as someone that is nowhere near high society, the idea that anyone not already from a high economic class would simply have the name brand items to fit the theme is laughable,” Kirchhofer said. “Also, the last time I checked it has really never been okay to dress as a socio-economic class, so I don’t know how that worked out.”
What do you think of the theme?