Kat's Pause: Bring Back The Banners

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: School Sports , Sports

It's time to bring back the banners that once hung in the gyms of Chatham and Harwich High Schools, as seen in these Chronicle file photos.

Not very long ago, Chatham and Harwich had two separate high schools, both with competitive athletic programs. Through the years, the successes of those programs resulted in a number of commemorative banners being hung in the respective gymnasiums. In a matter of weeks, some of the last students to pass through the halls of Chatham and Harwich before becoming Monomoy Sharks will graduate, and many of those who played a sport have one wish: bring back the old banners.

Though there may be some who feel that since Monomoy is a “new” school and therefore should only have new banners, the students who competed for Chatham, Harwich, and then Monomoy disagree. They see it differently, and it's time they were heard.

Monomoy is a melding of two high schools. The creation of something unique from the key pieces of the past. While the physical buildings are either gone or have been transformed into something else, the students still remember their days there with a sense of pride, particularly if they helped a sports team earn one of the many banners that hung in the gyms.

They did earn those accolades, and feel that not displaying the banners alongside those awaiting championships at MRHS is disrespectful. In their eyes it sends a message that nothing matters before the creation of Monomoy, which is simply not true.

Before there was a Monomoy High there were Chatham and Harwich High Schools, the Blue Devils and the Rough Riders. Just as at MRHS, athletes at those schools worked hard to win games not only in the hopes of triumphing against an opponent, but also with sights set on making the tournament and continuing to win until a championship trophy was in their grasp. The banners on the walls symbolized their efforts.

Building a new high school following the regionalization of the two districts didn't erase the reality, the fact, that there were once two high schools, but to the student athletes at MRHS who were once Blue Devils or Rough Riders it feels as if that's exactly what happened.

Just like the students themselves, the banners are a valuable and valued part of history for Blue Devils, Rough Riders, and Sharks. What students want is to see their history reflected on the walls of the gym at MRHS, the banners a powerful reminder of the rich and finely woven tapestry that is Monomoy, a school made possible by the unifying of two former schools and the students who went there.

Doesn't putting them up sound a lot better than allowing them to gather dust in a closet somewhere?