All-School Handshake: what could have been

All-School Handshake: what could have been

The 2019-20 school year has already proved to be one of many “firsts”. Aside from Mr. De Jesús taking his place as Head of School, the most significant change to the opening of school festivities was to the organization of the All-School Handshake.


Leading up to the first day of school, all members of the community, having checked the weather, were left with a relatively big “question mark” in regards to what would be done about the unique tradition that had become synonymous with the Formal Gardens. After roughly 20 years without rain, a key part of the Garden’s “identity” had certainly become tied to the Handshake. 


It had been decided to hold the Handshake as planned – well, nearly as planned. The line followed a somewhat complicated pattern snaking in and around Cressey. Given the circumstances, the situation was handled as best as it could have been. Despite a little confusion at first, the whole procedure went smoothly. We all joined in the spirit of what it means to be a Caxy. The spirit and purpose of the tradition – togetherness and community – outshined the unfortunate weather. 


On the other hand, upon seeing the sunny, clear skies the following day, many were probably prompted to wonder, “Why couldn’t we have just pushed the Handshake back one day?” If given the choice, the majority of the community would likely have preferred this option, and the Spectator staff agrees. The last minute nature of the weather admittedly left administrators with few options, but pushing the tradition back one day would have enhanced the experience, especially for the freshmen experiencing it for the first time. Had the next day’s weather not been ideal, a further push back might have been unreasonable, but stalling one day would have led to the picturesque experience we hold dear. In holding the Handshake in and around Cressey, a certain aesthetic element was lost and threatened to produce a muted experience.


In the end, the situation is a testament to the flexibility and resilience of the LFA community; our traditions and values always manage to shine through at the end of the day, no matter what’s thrown our way.