BSGE has had a long-standing tradition of “Color War Wednesday” each year during Spirit Week, organized by the senior council. On this day, each grade is assigned a different color to wear, and despite its name, the day has always generated friendly rivalries between the grades, and more importantly, school spirit. But this year on Wednesday, October 29, sophomores rebelled against seniors by wearing black, instead of their assigned color, yellow. For the past 3 years, the students from the class of 2017 have worn red. However, this year’s transition from wearing red to yellow angered many students. Some claimed to have asked a few seniors to change the 10th grade color to maroon, and instead been told to “stop complaining.” Many decided to protest against this by wearing the seniors’ assigned color: black. “Yellow is a really ugly color,” a tenth grade student says, “so we wore black to show the seniors that they don’t own black. We can wear it too.” An anonymous sophomore adds, “Yes, seniors assigned the colors, but if they gave themselves black, we can give ourselves black too. Why not?” What started out as a mild turmoil among a few students in the 10th grade against the color yellow became a successful “revolt” that inspired more than half the grade to wear black.
Many seniors were offended and annoyed by the actions of the sophomores. Joshua Vaiman ’15 shared his thoughts. “I think it’s childish, honestly, when I was talking to them [sophomores] they were saying how they were rebelling against us. I don’t understand what there is to rebel against. If you didn’t want the color you could’ve just handled it in a more mature way, you didn’t have to touch our poster or anything. We [Senior Council] really worked hard on that poster, and they just go and mess up the whole thing. Someone was telling me that in previous years they’ve always gotten red, so they didn’t want red. So we didn’t want to give them red and made it yellow. But after they got yellow, they told us that they’d rather have red. This made the situation worse than it already was. I’m kind of lost for words, because it’s really just unbelievable that they would even do that. Honestly, I was surprised that they could even think of something as clever and bold as that.” Derek Chu ’15 adds, “When we were in younger grades, we’d get colors that we didn’t necessarily like, but we didn’t do anything about it. I’m surprised about how many sophomores actually wore black. There were a lot of people.”
Sophomore students wearing black on Wednesday received head-to-toe stares from senior students, who also wore black. Harsh comments and insults flew back and forth between the two grades. Tension between seniors and sophomores accumulated after school ended. On various social media networks such as Facebook and Instagram, negative comments were thrown between the students. Another anonymous student from the 10th grade shared thoughts about the seniors’ behavior: “I didn’t think people [seniors] would be so insanely angry and I do feel a little sorry… but at the same time things were blown so far out of proportion that it’s crazy. They claim to be so utterly mature and intelligent and so it blows my mind that they act so immaturely about the colors of clothing we chose to wear.” The student later added, “I have a bunch of senior friends… or so I thought and I don’t think anyone really expected things to spiral out of control to an extent where people were cursing at me and my sophomore friends.”
Other seniors were surprised about the reason why 10th graders decided to wear their color. They didn’t know about the sophomores’ animosity towards the color chosen for them prior to Wednesday. “They could’ve came and talked to us. It’s not like we don’t talk to them. In fact, people from our grade are friendly with several of the sophomores,” states Max Fischman ’15, a senior at BSGE and member of the Yearbook committee. The color war tension may have changed the seniors’ plans for the underclassman pages in the yearbook this year.
Some teachers also had thoughts about the incident. Mr. Sheridan, one of the school’s art teachers, had mixed feelings about it. “What the sophomores did showed their class spirit… they were able to do something together. But I don’t know if I would’ve just picked a different color rather than co-opting the seniors’ color, because you have to assume that the seniors would become offended.
Although several sophomore students wore black as a “movement,” many wore black for other reasons. When asked why he chose to wear black on Wednesday, Lap Tran ’17, replied: “I only wore it because others told me to. It wasn’t actually anything important except the fact that all my friends were wearing black, so I decided to follow them.” In fact, many of the sophomore students wore black without knowing what was happening.
Despite the Spirit Week tensions and social media outbursts, students of all grades agree that the Color War, which appeared to have turned into a real war, is ultimately a trivial matter. Many seniors and sophomores have recognized that they acted immaturely in responding to the other grade. Most agree that the purpose of Spirit Week is to unite the school and not divide it, and therefore have reevaluated their anger over Color War Wednesday.