Welcome to Whitworth High

[This is a humor column I wrote this January for the real school newspaper at Whitworth. They didn't print it though so I quit.]

Am I the only one who’s noticed Whitworth is turning into a high school? My fellow students grow younger by the year, of course, and pretty girls still have no idea who I am, but that's not all. No, I’m talking about something much more serious.

My suspicions began at this year’s yell-off, with the surprising revelation that Whitworth has a fight song (and the less surprising revelation that it sucks). The orientation themes of my first three years here can only be described as a spiral of juvenility: cowboys, jungle animals and racecars—what’s next? I wondered. Dinosaurs? Beany Babies? Actual babies? But student-life exceeded my wildest predictions with the inspired selection of The Most Infantile Theme Possible: school spirit.

And so mock rock, an event once characterized by white kids’ awkward attempts to dance to the Nooma Nooma song, was turned into a pep-rally. And it didn’t end with traditiation. I’ve heard recent stories of athletic captains high-fiving and collar-popping in the loop. I’ve heard people actually went to the homecoming dance this year. Whitworth’s patriotic loyalty to the crimson and black has come to rival France’s devotion to the French horn, or China’s fondness for those impossible finger-cuff things.

And how about Whitworth’s first annual Battle of the Bands? It’s no coincidence that half the members of the winning band are veterans of the teen hardcore sensation Beaf (R.I.P.); nor that broody college-folk singer-songwriters were all but absent from the show.

So again I’m wondering what’s next. Can I sign up for woodshop next fall? Will I need a hall-pass to use the men’s room in Dixon? Will B-Rob’s successor change his title to Principal, and only learn the troublemakers’ names?

I sought out ASWU President Michael Harri, an actual member of the presidential search committee. But someone eating m&m’s in his office said he was out “…joyriding around Spokane, pretending he’s Ferris Bueller.” So like any responsible journalist, I gave up on interviews and turned to the library archives with the vague aim of conducting “research”.

But a stack of old yearbooks caught my attention instead, and their contents confirmed my fears. Paging through the profound and mature exploits of our forebears—students protesting the Vietnam War; a lone figure rappelling down the side of the campanile (we’re looking at you, Jim Edwards); a lively polo match played on unicorns in the loop; and the exuberant celebration when B.J. finally defeated Slytherin for the House Cup—I understood that we will never be true college students. Our university status is just a stepping stone on the way to becoming Whitworth High.

And some of the blame is mine, I admit. Because when I could have written to the trustees I just flipped to the back page of that old yearbook and scrawled, “You’re the best, Whitworth. Never change.”