August 28, 2013 - The first day of school at Swampscott High School, the Senior Tunnel was a very controversial topic. Many seniors and underclassmen fought to keep this tradition of cheering students entering the high school alive.
New Principle Edward J. Rozmiarek had met with some of the seniors to find a solution so that everyone would be happy. Mr. Rozmairek was very open minded about what the seniors had to say and also had a few opinions of his own. A final verdict was reach and an email went out to all parents, students, and teachers to inform them that there would be no senior tunnel this year.
Senior Tristan Smith was one of many seniors trying to keep this tradition alive. He met with many seniors and went to multiple meetings. Mr. Smith had a lot of support on Facebook. He also mentioned that when it came down to the students going to the meetings there wasn’t a lot of support.
When asked about how the freshmen may have felt Mr. Smith said “I think they were fine. All the ones I've talked to were ok with it.” He also said that he felt that the freshmen weren’t getting the credit they deserved. “They are high schoolers now, they can handle it.”
The reason for all the uproar with safety and hazing was due to a paddling issue in 2011. The staff of the high school wanted to be sure that there wouldn’t be another incident like this. They also wanted the first day of school to be as easy as it can be for the newcomers.
History teacher Susan Haggerty has been teaching at the high school for six years and has seen the tunnel first hand. All teachers, including Mrs. Haggerty, were not aware that there was a strong debate going on about the senior tunnel until they had received an email saying it was canceled.
Ms. Haggerty is well aware of the issues that had occurred previous years and said “Over the years there have been more negatives then positives, especially from girls.” She also believes that if the senior tunnel was to be banned from the school that the seniors would replace it with something better. “When I went to high school, we had the opposite; the understand classmen lined the building cheering for us, it was awesome!”
Not only is the senior tunnel a tradition but it’s also an activity that students wait all high school to do just like going to prom. The tunnel reminds the seniors that this will be a year full of fun and excitement before they all take their separate roads and head off to college, the armed forces, or the work force.
Junior, Kiana Burke-Monsanto, is especially excited for the senior tunnel next year. She feels that the tunnel is all for fun and that in no way it is harming anyone. In addition to that she also mentions this year’s seniors' attitudes towards everything. “The seniors could have disobeyed the rules but they respected them and didn’t.”
This shows the maturity of the seniors and the amount of respect the students have for the administration of the high school. Ms. Burke-Monsanto also said “I would just hope that my senior year they would reconsider the tunnel.”
Many students hope that this fun loving tradition lives on including freshmen, Leanne Nisbet. Most freshmen would be concerned about the upperclassmen picking on them but not Leanne Nisbet. But like other freshmen Ms. Nisbet said “I was a little nervous about the teachers, classes, and the heavier work load.”
She also felt that the first day of school was exciting. Ms. Nisbet thought that all the screaming and cheering from the seniors was exciting. When asked if she had felt hazed and or bullied by upperclassmen that day, especially seniors, she said “Not at all, it was like a big welcoming to the new school, and I can’t wait to do it as a senior!” Just like many other students, Ms. Nisbet thought there was nothing wrong with the senior tunnel and hope it goes on.
“I would love to have the senior tunnel back for the upperclassmen and for my class and for everyone else.”