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Holidays: A Privilege, Not a Right

Holidays: A Privilege, Not a Right

Holidays: A Privilege, Not a Right



November 15, 2023


You’re not entitled to a holiday. While we did get to it in the end, on the way, we lost sight of what the tradition is actually about. Those three days—once per athletic season—should be a time where we honor and celebrate our community. The time off from the many demanding obligations of day-to-day Hotchkiss life was much needed, as it always is, but, still, the student body’s attitude in the days and weeks before Head of School Mr. Craig Bradley actually announced the holiday took away from its true purpose. 

On pages one and two, in the article on disrespect, Mr. Andrew D’Ambrosio, dean of student life, says that the culture around anticipatory emails “needs to change.” He is right. What was once a fun tradition has devolved into a series of one-upmanship and disrespect. The specific email that Mr. D’Ambrosio refers to is just a manifestation of the larger phenomenon now. 

The practice of holiday roulette too has devolved to a much more base level than it ever has reached before. As the holiday announcement did not come, and student prognosticators showed themselves as more and more inaccurate, holiday roulette ended up bleeding into academic life. It is honestly shocking that academics had not been impacted sooner by a tradition that involved explicitly not doing homework. 

The common thread here is clear. Entitlement to the idea of a day off has degraded the concept of a holiday so far that even when it comes it is treated like a given, rather than a gift. The first head of school holiday was awarded in honor of an alumnus who won a prestigious prize at Yale, and since then, holidays have retained—at least to the administration—that honorary purpose. 

If we return to that old version of holidays, honoring all that has made this community special, each time that it comes around, it will be a much more rewarding experience. An over-anticipated holiday is an underappreciated holiday. Thinking back to last year, the fall holiday— called on a Sunday night for the following Monday—took the entire community by surprise, and was all the more enjoyable for it. 

Some of this prognostication is inevitable, but the leadup to this year’s holiday has taken it too far. By limiting the feeling of entitlement to the holiday, not only will we cut back on much of the disrespectful behavior that has been pervading campus in recent years, but we will also build a much stronger holiday tradition. It is worth noting that many of our peer boarding schools do not have head of school holidays at all, even though they have Saturday classes like we do. It is not a like-for-like trade and we should not treat it as such. The only proper way for the student body to treat a holiday is as a gift.

Benjamin Who is an editor-in-chief of The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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