Previous Newspapers Expose, Exhibit Similar Core Issues to Today’s


Allyson Jay

A page of “The Torch” issue published in 1972 depicts an old tradition of homecoming, revealing their Homecoming queen, the three attendants and their escorts from Blake with a small blurb next to their picture.

If you’ve ever told someone that you go to Blake, you’ve probably heard a response somewhere along the lines of “oh so you must be rich.” If you’ve been here for over a year, then you probably know about the infamous scandals that pass around the student body whether that’s a service trip gone wrong or a major assembly mess up. But have you ever wondered what these topics were like for people a decade ago? 20 years ago? And what about the 1970s, when Blake was still two separate schools? While modern issues and topics of discussion may appear to be things that only our generation deals with, this is not the case. What if I told you that $400 dollars worth of pythons got lost in the school? Or that Northrop students also had to deal with the perception of being a “snob school?” How would this change our perception of scandals? Would it at all? Well, as shocking as it may seem, many issues, complaints, and normal things that are present in our daily lives were also present in the 70s.

It seems as though everyone at Blake has heard the stereotype of Blake being filled with rich, stuck up kids, and as it turns out that stigma stems from Northrop. One article in “The Torch” entitled “Is Northrop a Snob School?” states, “We believe that a vast majority of public school students tend to classify Northrop as a ‘snob school.’ Hopefully this attitude stems from the fact that most Northrop students lie in quite a high income bracket, and not from what they observe in our behavior towards other people.” However, “The Torch” had a solution to this issue. The article says, “It is about time someone spoke out in favor of what is not yet a lost cause: our desperate need for school spirit. We feel confident in saying that the ratio of snobs to little people at NCS is no larger than it is any place else. A snob is not someone with money, it is someone with a haughty attitude… We have some great people in this school and even though our pride in it is sometimes hidden, it is there. Well, it is time for that pride and affection to stop sleeping and come where people can see it. We can prove that we are not snobs in our actions and attitudes.” The lack of school spirit is still a topic of discussion, and it being a solution to the “snob” issue is an idea that as a school we must employ. In an article written in December 2021 in “The Spectrum” entitled “School Spirit Lacks, SIAC Plans to Improve” states that “SIAC Luke Sugalski ‘22, claims, ‘Blake’s school spirit is not great compared to a lot of schools and that’s a problem.’ Aidan Krush ’23, fellow SIAC, agrees and says, ‘Honestly I think we’re lacking a little bit.’”

One event that was a major topic of discussion in 2021 was the creation of the Blaker Space and as odd as it may seem, technology also addressed in “The Torch.” “The Torch” commented on their new photography class: “This course, opened to the Senior School, will be on a full credit basis and will be offered five days a week…Right now, Davis [science teacher and Audio Visual Coordinator] is in the process of making up a budget for audio-visual and photography equipment. Eventually the AV department hopes to acquire cameras.” Similarly, a “The Torch” article published on Jan. 29, 1971 called “New Computer Installed In Multipurpose ‘Pub’ Room,” comments on the new computers installed in the “computer facilities,” remarking, “The noise you might have heard as you passed by the old Torch office wasn’t any ordinary typewriter. It was a teletype machine, part of the new Blake computer terminal.” A similar event occurred on Feb. 3, 2022 with the unveiling of the Makerspace. An article titled “Makerspace Unveiled in Library” reveals, “Blake has recently put in a Makerspace in the library, providing students with space to work on physical projects. Nat Gilsdorf, the Upper School’s student innovation coordinator, explains, ‘The idea [of the Makerspace] is to allow teachers to feel more comfortable assigning projects instead of papers or tests and to make it more equitable for students to work on those projects.’” 

Although Blake has changed throughout the years, “The Spectrum” and “The Torch” represent the same core issues, whether that’s school spirit or “snobbiness.” The connection between the two publications’ topics has survived decades. The persistence of our issues provide a sense of unity and comfort – something that, without “The Torch,” wouldn’t exist.