For years, some Marlborough classes have had the deep desire to change their class song, a cherished tradition at Marlborough that has been in place since the beginning of the school’s establishment. The process for deciding on what song will represent a class until graduation takes place in the 9th grade and requires major planning. It also requires many “friendly” disagreements on the issue during class meetings and few too many “lighthearted” arguments.
The first class to have a conversation about changing their class song was the Class of 2009.
“We changed our class song in senior year because it was difficult to sing. There were a lot of ‘mmmms’ and ‘aahs’ so it was a bit awkward,” said English Instructor and member of the Class of 2009 Caitlin Newby. “We changed it to ‘Stay With You’ by John Legend as it was a ballad and had a message that fit the purpose of graduation.”
By this time, the Class of ‘09 only had one more performance so they opted to select a “graduation song.” It wouldn’t replace the choice they made for their official class song, but it gave them something to perform at graduation that they enjoyed more.
With the precedent of the Class of ‘09’s changing their class song, the Class of 2024 underwent discussions in October to consider the possibility of changing their class song, “Story of Our Life” by One Direction. After a petition by a student was sent out to juniors to find a new song, the junior class council met and decided that for their next class meeting, a democratic conversation needed to commence.
Students at the meeting wore top hats and council members used a mini gavel to present the pros and cons. Led by Natalie ‘24, Angelina ‘24 and Violet ‘24, the meeting had a town hall format as students expressed the two opposing sides of whether their song should be changed or stay the same.
“I had the idea of a town hall assembly as a way of discussing the idea in a lighter and more playful manner,” said Natalie. “It reminded people that class song selection and other traditions are just meant to be fun and lighthearted moments for the class to share.”
Dean of 11th Grade Ilyana Contreras explained that if the majority of the class signed the petition after the town council, steps to change the song would take place.
“Ultimately, this is something that affects all grades at Marlborough, and when you set a precedent, you set a precedent,” said Contreras.
After each group made their points, an open mic session followed for students to freely express their views. After the meeting ended, it was up to the students to decide whether they would sign the petition to change their class song or not. After the meeting, less than half the class ended up signing the petition, which meant the movement didn’t pass.
Contreras explained the effects of the town hall after the consensus by the juniors had been reached.
“There are pros and cons to tradition, but I’m really glad that this whole thing happened because it’s really important to listen to our students,” she said. “The ultimate effect of the town hall was that us as deans are going to continue giving more thoughtful messaging around what a class song means and how you might feel about it in 9th grade versus in the future.”