While most students were studying hard at school on Friday, Buffalo Seminary students were taking a break to celebrate Hornet/Jacket Day.
When a new student arrives at Sem, she is sorted into one of the school’s teams: Hornets and Jackets. It can be compared to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, where students get sorted into houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Even though Sem hosts many fans of Harry Potter, that is not the reason why the Hornets and Jackets were created.
The tradition of the Hornets and Jackets can be traced back to 1916. During this era, girls were not allowed to play sports or participate in any activities with boys or other teams, so Buffalo Seminary split their students into two teams: the Hornets and the Jackets. Now the students on each team would have another team to compete against. Today, new students and faculty are still sorted into these two teams, and they compete in different contests throughout the year, earning house points that to determine who wins the house cup.
This year, Hornet/Jacket Day began with a sleepover last Thursday. The freshmen and sophomores enjoy a lock-in at Buffalo Seminary for their sleepover, while the juniors sleep at their sponsors’ homes (When a new student arrives at Sem, they are assigned to a sponsor, a girl from the grade above them who looks out for them and becomes their “sister.”) During the lock-in, the students enjoyed dancing, midnight snacks, a movie, hide and seek in the dark, and having their nails painted green and yellow in honor of the Hornet and Jacket colors. One of the more popular activities during the sleepover was looking for the ghost of Miss Angell, who served the longest as Sem’s headmistress. They say that late at night, you can hear her playing the piano in the gallery. The story of Miss Angell made some students quite paranoid, but it was fun to share ghost stories.
Early in the morning, the sophomores ran around the school banging on doors and floors, playing loud music and screaming Hornet and Jacket chants to wake up the freshmen. Then the sophomores dressed the freshmen in a huge variety of fun and sometimes embarrassing costumes. There were bacon, ice cream, Angry Birds and princess costumes. One girl was a dressed as a present: She wore a box with holes in it for the head and arms, a birthday cake on her head and ribbons everywhere.
The freshmen ran from Sem to Canisius and back dressed in these crazy costumes, screaming all over the neighborhood, while the other students were in some of the seniors’ decorated cars, driving around, beeping the horn and screaming Hornet/Jacket chants out the windows. Random cars passing by got into the spirit and honked their horns as well.
Back in the school chapel, the upperclassmen cheered wildly as they split into their two teams. Then the freshmen had to get onto the stage and scream their name and what team they wanted to be on. When someone said, for example, that they wanted to be a Jacket, the Jackets would cheer loudly for them, and a couple of students would rush onto the stage to give them hugs and throw candy. The chapel was decorated with yellow and green everywhere, as well as the rest of the school.
Then it came time for the students to rush over to Larkin Park, where they performed their well-rehearsed songs and dance routines. The freshmen sang the Jacket Song (a parody of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop”), the Hornet Song (a parody of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”) and the school song (a parody of “Made in the USA” by Demi Lovato). The teams from each grade also gave performances.
The faculty didn’t let the students have all the fun, though. The Jacket and Hornet faculty also gave performances. The entertainment lasted for about an hour, and then the students were finally sorted.
A student’s name would be called along with which team she was assigned to. The student would then run up a huge slide and go down. Then she would run over to her teams. Each team stood next to a tarp, which was covered in shaving cream and ice-cold water. The new student slid through this while getting sprayed with ice-cold water and shaving cream until she reached the end, where she received a Hornet/Jacket Day 2013 T-shirt. After all the new students were properly welcomed to their teams, the teams competed in tug-of-war and relay races.
Students and faculty then joined together to clean up before taking team photos. An outdoor barbecue followed.
“Hornet/Jacket Day is seriously one of my best school days ever,” said freshman Enya Cirillo. “You get to express yourself and go wild (in a good way). ... Really, it is an exhilarating day, and it’s a Buffalo Seminary tradition to remember. I love my high school.”
Aerin Wagner is a freshman (and a Jacket) at Buffalo Seminary.