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   They have foliage that remains green and functional through more than one growing season.  They are loyal and enduring members of the Pinewood
community.  They remain on the perimeter of Pinewood’s campus, yet walk through the hallways of the school at the same time.  What are they? Evergreens.

   While in nature, the term “Evergreen” is used to describe a tree that keeps its leaves and stays green all year, this word carries a different significance at Pinewood. The term “Evergreen” is a name
given to students that have attended Pinewood School since kindergarten.

  One of the most common myths about Evergreens is that they have a social and academic advantage due to their familiarity with the school. In my opinion, Evergreens hardly have an edge in these areas, since a person’s academic and social success is dependent on their own self-involvement,
motivation, and commitment to the Pinewood community. These traits are ones that every member of the Pinewood is capable of possessing -– not just the Evergreens.

   “People think that Evergreens know more about Pinewood, but not all do. You have to be involved to know more, so if you’re an Evergreen but do nothing, you don’t have a big
advantage,” junior Laine Corfield said.

   In addition, while I am grateful to have a sense of proximity and attachment to the Pinewood community, being an Evergreen has also forced me to make compromises. For instance, since my school experience has been restricted to Pinewood, I have grown accustomed to the social culture at Pinewood.  As a result, I have been sheltered from unique experiences that I might have otherwise had at other schools, such as school dances that only a gym — not a theater — could accommodate or day-to-day interactions with students from different backgrounds. Pinewood prides its students in fulfilling the WISCR characteristics that are a trademark of the school, but can Evergreens really meet the W (well-rounded) character trait of WISCR? If our social experiences are never varied or balanced because of our exclusively Pinewoodian education, it doesn’t seem possible to ever truly be well-rounded.

   “I feel like I am a little less socially well-adjusted, and I am less aware of how the world functions outside our little
Pinewood community,” sophomore Jennifer Allen said.

    A third topic of controversy surrounding Evergreens at Pinewood is the Evergreen Award bestowed upon seniors that have remained at Pinewood since kindergarten.

   “Evergreens were recognized since Pinewood had its first 8th grade graduating class in the early 1970’s. To me it represents someone who is lucky enough to have been at Pinewood for 13 years,” Principal Mark Gardner said.

   Many of us Evergreens take pride in our loyalty to Pinewood, but I feel that the Evergreen Award is
unnecessary. To me, this award is symbolic of predominantly nothing more than a 13-year long financial commitment to Pinewood; this contract, basically a trade of education for money, is not particularly
worthy of recognition.

   Lastly, many people seem to think that Evergreens view other Evergreens as brothers or sisters. While I share a unique, nostalgic bond with several of my fellow Evergreens, I do not view all of them as
family.  It is true that I am extremely close to many of the Evergreens in my grade, but this close friendship does not solely stem from the fact that we have attended Pinewood since kindergarten. In fact, in just the past two years alone, I have developed friendships with newcomers to Pinewood that are much closer than the friendships I share with some other Evergreens. So although us Evergreens might share
inside jokes that only we can understand, or specific
memories from art class in kindergarten, our friendships are not much different from non-Evergreen friendships.

   When I first started as a kindergartener at Pinewood, I never looked so far ahead as to see how my future would unfold.  Here I am, eleven years later, an Evergreen at Pinewood, two years from graduation. The word “Evergreen” should not be associated with a sense of superiority or prestige. After all, the title of “Evergreen” is nothing more than a label given to a portion of the Pinewood community, as is “freshman,” “sophomore,” “junior,” “senior,” or any other category of people at Pinewood.