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The Generational Gap of RCHS
March 8, 2022
Hype and energy.
The best words to describe Rancho Cucamonga High School’s reputation.
No other school in the district has been able to rival our spirit, active student culture, and hyped sports games.
“Rancho was without a doubt the most exciting school in the area,” said former ASB President Nathan Moretti. “The stands during games were unreal with the amount of energy in them. Dances were so fun every time. Everyone was involved in the culture.”
As students returned to full in-person learning after a year of remote and hybrid instruction, that reputation has been put in danger. With the classes of 2020 and 2021 having graduated, the culture torch has been passed onto the class of 2022, the only class on campus to have experienced a full year of Rancho’s rich campus culture. And thus, Rancho is experiencing a Generational Gap.
A Generational Gap is a phenomenon that occurs when there’s a chasm that separates the beliefs and behaviors belonging to members of two different generations. Usually, a Generational Gap occurs over the course of several decades; however, Rancho is experiencing it in just a year and a half because of the pandemic and distance learning.
During a normal school year, the campus culture would trickle down as events are normally held throughout the year and everyone from sophomores to seniors would be able to show the freshmen what the Rancho spirit is.
I feel like our events are epic only if you put in the respect and energy it takes to make it a good time; but once you put in that effort, you’re more willing to come to school and high school will actually be the best four years of your life.”
— Kayla Nguyen
“I feel like our events are epic only if you put in the respect and energy it takes to make it a good time; but once you put in that effort, you’re more willing to come to school and high school will actually be the best four years of your life,” said Link Crew President Kayla Nguyen.
Rallies and the Spirit Clap
Rallies and the Spirit Clap
One of the biggest events for Rancho culture is the Homecoming Rally, which is the first time incoming freshmen get to see Rancho culture in action, experience the hype and energy, and learn the spirit clap.
“The spirit clap was a key feature to the rallies,” said Mr. Aaron Bishop. “Everyone looked forward to it.” According to Bishop, the spirit clap is unique to Rancho, having existed since the school opened in 1992. No Rancho rally is complete without the spirit clap. Alongside performances from dance and cheer, it’s an unmistakable staple of a Rancho rally.
At every Homecoming Rally, Bishop teaches the incoming freshman the spirit clap, and then hosts a class competition for the best spirit clap. This year, it won’t be just the freshmen learning the spirit clap for the first time though. It will be the freshman and the sophomores.
Now, the seniors are the only ones who have a solid idea of Rancho spirit, experiencing it in their freshman and sophomore years. The juniors didn’t get the full experience of the Rancho spirit, missing out on the second-semester rallies, and most importantly, the Renaissance Rally.
Rallies have always been the staple events of the year as they involve the entire school. For those who’ve never experienced a rally, they’re extravagant, high-energy events in the gym. There’s always a unique theme to each rally and tons of different student organizations are involved, from ASB and SA, to the TV Bulletin and even Mr. Lindensmith’s woodshop classes. ASB meticulously decorates the gym with elaborate, theme-driven posters that are larger-than-life, and there’s even been principals on flying motorcycles before. Yes, you read that correctly. A principal on a flying motorcycle. Rallies are such a big deal on campus that the entire schedule for the day is interrupted just to accommodate them.
The last rally of the year, the Renaissance Rally, is planned by Student Achievement.
My first ever Ren Rally was unlike anything I had ever expected to see from a high school. Our principal, … was hooked up to a harness that shot him into the sky like an astronaut…”
— Mikayla Orozco
“The Renaissance Rally is an event to recognize all walks of campus,” said senior and Student Achievement Director of Public Affairs Matthew DeGuzman. “We make sure to recognize the achievements of all students at Rancho, whether it is academic, physical, or creative endeavors, we pour lots of energy and passion into giving back to the school and recognizing the campus’ accomplishments.”
For the Renaissance Rally, each year has a variety of performances, from dance, to cheer, to individual student and teacher performances. According to DeGuzman, anyone is able to audition to perform.
“My first ever Ren Rally was unlike anything I had ever expected to see from a high school,” said senior Mikayla Orozco. “Our principal, Cary Wilborn at the time, was hooked up to a harness that shot him into the sky like an astronaut and it was in that moment that I knew this school was constantly going to amaze me with the great lengths they’ll go for their students.”
Another integral component of Rancho’s student culture are student clubs. While larger clubs that have branches in other parts of the state or even the country (e.g. Key Club and CSF) were able to weather the pandemic with relative ease, it’s the smaller school-specific clubs that struggled to continue their operations.
While some clubs were able to switch to an online format easily, many decided to temporarily cease, waiting to restart once lockdown ended.
Even before all these events, students, staff, and even graduates have felt the impact of the Generational Gap.
I feel like a freshman in the sense that I haven’t felt fully incorporated and given the same energy that a freshman would go through their first year here. Although, in other ways, I feel more introduced to the campus and have a greater understanding of it than I think a freshman would.”
— Joshua Potter
“I feel like a freshman in the sense that I haven’t felt fully incorporated and given the same energy that a freshman would go through their first year here,” said sophomore Joshua Potter. “Although, in other ways, I feel more introduced to the campus and have a greater understanding of it than I think a freshman would.”
It isn’t just current students who are feeling the Rancho Generational Gap either. Rancho grads, both reminiscing and looking in, also feel the Generational Gap.
“Due to covid and the changing expectations of the younger generations, it does feel like campus has been losing its cultural spark. It often becomes a trend to not care for school spirit and the like and it’s a little discouraging. The spark dying was felt in my year and I can imagine that it’s only going to increase from there. It’s honestly a shame. The energy and school spirit that Rancho exhibits is truly one of a kind and an ethereal way to be connected with everyone in your year,” said Rancho graduate Clarissa Do.
One of the main goals for RCHS’s campus culture is to get back to “The Rancho Way.”
“The Rancho Way” is the driving ideal that teachers and upperclassmen have taught incoming students how to behave.
“We celebrate success, both academic and personal, and honor those that are putting the work in. We stand up for each other and with each other when people are going through a hard time,” said Mrs. Heather Landau. “Our actions are dictated by our integrity, and our desire to do the right thing even when it is hard. We proudly bleed purple and represent our school positively at every turn.”
Like many other things on campus, “The Rancho Way” has been affected by the Generational Gap. From trivial things like walking up the stairs properly, to the “devious lick” trend, it’s been absent from Rancho’s population.
Now that students have returned to in-person learning, it is time to close the gap and revitalize Rancho’s culture because it is “The Rancho Way.”