Are Dress-up Days Close to an End?

White board outside of the calculus classrooms.

White board outside of the calculus classrooms.

Dress-up days for the Calculus students of Arrowhead may come to a halt, after complaints from students and staff about offensive themes. These complaints have lead to requests of the tradition being changed.

Arrowhead offers multiple Calculus classes for students. For seniors, two courses are possible, either AP Calculus AB or AP Calculus BC. For juniors, there is Calculus and Applications which is a prerequisite for Calculus BC.

For these difficult classes, teachers offer students a partner to help them on their quizzes each week. However, in order to be given a partner, teachers of Calculus require students to dress up based on a particular theme.

This tradition was started by now retired Arrowhead teacher Steve Urban. It is continued by teachers Steven Schmid and Jim Hessler.

These themes are usually based on an alliteration which corresponds with the day of the quiz according to Arrowhead senior and AP Calculus BC student, Nick Bugliosi.

Bugliosi says, “We have had a bunch of different themes that usually rhyme with the day. Just recently we had Wicked Wednesday. Obviously our quiz was on Wednesday and we had to dress in a Halloween costume for the wicked theme. Some of the ones we had last year in Calculus and Applications were Freedom Friday, where we had to dress patriotic; Flashlight Friday, where we had to take our quizzes in the dark; Football Friday, where we dressed up as football players; and Fact Friday, where we taped an interesting fact to our shirts.”

These themes have recently come under scrutiny. Funeral Friday and Fat Friday have been viewed as offensives, causing the school administration to bar the themes for partners on quizzes.

“There was a couple of themes that were offensive, such as fat Friday. You could just tell some of the kids felt uncomfortable because they thought kids were kind of making fun of them,” says an Arrowhead student, who asked to remain anonymous.

After a short suspension of these themes, the Calculus classes are again allowed to dress up for partners. However according to Mr. Schmid, teachers must now have their themes approved by the administration in order to ensure the themes are school appropriate.

Schmid said, “I think the tradition of dressing up for partners on their quizzes actually brings the class together. It creates a certain feeling of community for each class. Nearly the whole class participates in dressing up. All of the students are dressed in similar fashion which identifies them as Calculus students, which is an achievement in itself…Another important aspect is stress relief. Being in Calculus, the quizzes are never easy. Having partners help them to relax when they take the quiz because two heads are better than one. Also the themes can be kind of silly which offers comic relief. Some of the things these kids come up with can be pretty funny.”

After the controversy, guidelines have been put in place.

Schmid said, “It is important that our themes are inclusive and accessible as we continue this tradition. No students should have to go out and buy things to participate.”

Many students in the advanced math class say they enjoy the themes; in fact, they say they think it’s the highlight of the week.

“I look forward to it every week because it is on a Friday, and it is awesome to see all of us dressed up as something. Some students go all out on their dress up, which is the best. It’s pretty much Halloween every Friday!” says Arrowhead senior Connor Teel.