My name is Carly Stange, and I am a freshman at EGHS this year. Throughout the years of elementary and middle school, the spontaneously painted rock lying outside the school has always caught my eye and the eyes of many passerby. From birthday shoutouts to pep rally morale, East Greenwich High School’s personal rock has been the showcase for messages abound. The rock itself has been painted and painted for decades, becoming one of this school’s most distinctive traditions. Yet, how can something as simple as a rock encompass an entire school’s spirit?
The answer to this question is simple: from the teamwork and competition it inspires. In terms of the former, whether they are sports players or friends celebrating an event, those who paint the rock come together to decorate the boulder as they please. In terms of the latter, the ability to paint the rock also gives students some healthy competition. From the sophomore debate to rivalry in sports, the rock has worked to fuel the competitiveness of the school. Nonetheless, the students are mature when painting the rock. As Mr. George, a teacher here at EGHS, states, “I think [the rock] is different. It’s a good way for the kids to express themselves.”
As Mr. George and others exemplify, the rock is not only appreciated by the students but by the teachers as well. It brings the high school together into one tightly-bonded community. Underclassmen view it as a right of passage, one that they look forward to soon taking part in. Ana Caliri, a freshman here at EGHS, says, “I feel like painting the rock is something that a lot of EGHS students look forward to as they are growing up in the middle and elementary schools. I am excited to paint it myself, whenever an opportunity arises.”
While many underclassmen remain curious regarding the culture of the rock, upperclassman embrace it and recognize its significance. Rachel Berman, a junior at EGHS, claims, “I love the fun that it brings. It is very unique to our school”- a valid statement, as there are very few other high schools in Rhode Island or even America that keep a rock so sacred to them. This rock, however, allows for more than just a platform to write messages. It signifies the right to freedom of expression to the students and an outlet for their individuality. Mrs. Harvey, a gym and health teacher at EGHS, states that it is a “great way to celebrate accomplishments and send a positive sentiment throughout the school.” All in all, the culture of the rock is a special one to all those who attend EGHS. It is a platform for those who wish to speak their minds in a respectful manner. It is for those who wish to embrace their school spirit while having fun. The culture of East Greenwich High School’s own rock is not one to miss out on, and all students are encouraged to, at one time or another, paint the rock before their high school career comes to an end. After all, it is more than just a rock: it is the knot that ties our community together.
By: Carly Stange