Change isn’t Always Scary

Green Keys. You either love them or you hate them. The mentorship program here at Reserve, meant to help new students adapt to the confusing social norms of Western Reserve Academy, has gone under some renovation. This long standing tradition, usually between Seniors and new students has introduced Juniors into the mix. So now, Juniors can tell freshman not to walk on the seal, or how we are “not supposed to” cheer against the other team at sporting events. Although this Junior Class may have been a strange class to begin the new two-year green key system with, I understand why the Lord of Boardingware and Dance, Mrs. Barth, decided that this change may be for the better.

Upperclassmen, the leaders of “The Academy” some may say, are integral to the success of WRA. All of these pioneers should be able to make an impact on the community, and what better way of doing this then giving each of them a mentee to share all of their life hacks with. Green Key friendships have the potential to be one of the strongest connections a student has at Reserve. Expanding the number of students that can be paired together will increase the likelihood of a good Green Key pair, such as last years pairing of Ian Richardson ’22 and Tommy Wagner ’19. Although I did not have a particularly strong connection with my Green Key, I know many students who still share a strong connection with their mentor, even after they graduate. Despite not having this connection, I can still hope that the next generation of this program can be even stronger. Take Aline Dominguez ’21 for example, a junior who actively supports her Green Key, Cam Baker ’22, “Cam and I do a lot together! I help him with spanish, we eat a lot of meals together, have deep conversations and gossip—A LOT. So watch out…..” so heartwarming, am I wrong?

This change naturally lead to anger and discontent among the Senior class. “I was appalled that juniors were getting Green Keys because they can barely take care of themselves,” expressed Julia Clarke ’20. However, society suggests that freshmen are more likely to be friends with juniors than seniors. Knowing such, we must consider why is it “appalling” for Juniors to have a Green Key from the freshman class?

Another advantage of this new system is the timeline. In the future, it may be seen as a disadvantage to have a senior Green Key because they are nearly about to graduate and leave the school. However, Juniors still have two more years left at WRA. That is at least half of their Green Key’s highschool experience that can be utilized to grow closer than just an arranged friendship. The amount of times you can go to lunch, or make Tik-Toks with a person in two years is kind of crazy when you think about it. We all know seniors are going to be the ones to slack with their Green Keys because of this whole ~college~ thing. For example, last year, one of my friend’s senior Green Key told them during their first ice cream excursion that this would be the last time they speak all year. Disgusting. This is just one more reason for the expansion of the system to all upperclassmen instead of forcing all Seniors to be paired with a kid(s) who they are going to forget about. Juniors are still looking forward to their remaining time at Reserve and not just counting down the days until they receive their diploma and leave for college.

Personally, I am looking forward to having a Green Key next year whom I can influence and teach the ways of Reserve life. For those seniors who were offended by this article, we all know you overestimated how much time you were going to do spend with your Green Key this year, so let the juniors shine and go finish your college applications. In the long run, there is not much to be offended by. The fact that juniors can have Green Keys is only controversial to the seniors this year and select Alumni who remember this tradition. We, as a community, should be thinking about the support of those who are new students rather than our petty opinions about traditions that will not matter when we graduate.

-David King ’22

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