On the day of November 10th, in wake of the election results, it seemed as if a dark cloud had formed over the Irvington High School community.
The hallways and classrooms felt desolate as students and teachers alike idled in near silence, the gravity of Donald Trump’s victory still sinking in. English teacher, Ms, Ippolito described the day as, “It seems like it’s a day of mourning. I don’t think I’ve seen the general atmosphere of the school this low since 9/11.”
Hillary Clinton delivered her concession speech on this day, beginning during 4th period and steadily continuing on into 5th.
Students congregated in certain classrooms, temporary viewing rooms, to watch their candidate–their freedom fighter, role model–bid her farewell to the lengthy campaign trail she has worked tirelessly and remarkably on upholding.
These classrooms resembled a kind of sanctuary for students, one where admiration for Hillary Clinton was, though very silently, celebrated. These were classrooms of grief and of loss. But these were also classrooms of hope and resilience, populated with young women and men who refused to be passive in our country’s decision. Assistant Principal, Mr. Samuelson, who is relatively new to the Irvington High School community described the situation as, “Every political election is going to create some hurt feelings after, but what is important at Irvington is that we come together for what’s important here in school. We value our education, our community, and we hope that after the election is over that we can come back together again and continue to grow as a unit.”
Dozens of students not only took this time out of their free periods to watch Mrs.Clinton, but they skipped their classes to. This was an act of defiance. These students were willing to sacrifice their learning time and suffer the possible consequence of detention to do justice to themselves, but also the people of America whose lives may be forever altered by this election. Many students expressed the oppressing fear and harassment that may be faced with Trump as president. Senior Ian Reilly, personally reflected on Trumps victory, “I’m scared, not really for myself, because I’m a white guy and I resent that, but it’s the truth. I’m mostly scared for my sister because as a member of the LGBT community, I feel like they could very well be hit hard especially when we have a vice-president who is openly opposes the entire community. I think that is dangerous for the kids and the world to come, and so that’s why I’m scared.”
Many remarked that their peers were overreacting, being immature and childish in the ways they were handling. Junior Jack Mascone commented, “I think people are seeing things through a scope, a very New York scope, instead of a broader spectrum. I’m not very sympathetic because it was a fair election, I would be upset if Hillary Clinton won. I think that Donald Trump will make a change in America that a lot of people need.”
The results did not only come as a surprise for many, but rather as a blow to the ideals of a progressive society. Trump’s victory over Hillary (due to the electoral college, not popular vote) represents more than a party vs. party conflict. Many have remarked that this election has evoked memories from the election of 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore. A similar conflict arose in which Bush triumphed over Gore due to the electoral college votes. Gore, similarly to Clinton, won the popular vote.
This is bigger than just personal interest, and it is for this reason that the results were so heavily from corner to corner of this school. Junior Melanie Geller stated, “It affects everyone, we live in a liberal area, New York… I think as a community we need to come together.”