Maverick Notes

Elizabeth BerryRed, pink and white all are reminders of an important and commercial holiday, Valentine’s Day. Somehow our society has gone away from the love and familial ties associated with Valentine’s Day. Instead, we now bombard each other with Hallmark cards and cheap chocolate, wilted roses and cheesy phrases like “Be Mine” and “Fax Me” on those chalky, candy hearts practically everyone buys. Now I know Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but I want to resurrect it just one more time before the year is finished.

My school does something I think is really interesting for Valentine’s Day. Now, we are a high school, so there isn’t a special get-together with cookies and frosting where we all pass around the valentines we had to make for everyone, so no one would be left out. Instead, our GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) club does something really cool.

The week before Valentine’s Day, the club goes into a frenzy. They invite kids from all different clubs in the school to come in at lunchtime and make valentines. By the time that special day comes around, every single person in the school, including the teachers, gets a homemade valentine. At lunchtime, everyone crowds around the GSA classroom and waits to get in the long line that stretches through the door. Inside, the whole room is transformed into a Valentine’s Day paradise. There are round tables covered in doilies and heart tablecloths. The sweet scent of tea floats through the air. Three tables are loaded with goodies such as cupcakes, cookies and chocolate, all donated to the cause. Covering one whole wall is all of the valentines.

There is such a sense of joy and a community feeling surrounding that wall. Students eagerly jump up and grab valentines before ducking in a corner to read theirs. By the end, everyone is smiling because the valentines aren’t filled with meaningless clichés. Instead, they contain heart-felt messages from our peers. They are written anonymously, but that makes the whole process even better. It is nice to think that there is maybe one person you aren’t friends with who sees how special you are.

It is one of the benefits of our small school that allows us to undertake such a project every year. In a large school it wouldn’t be possible. That only adds to the sense of community in our school. Now, I won’t say that I know everyone in the school or that I feel part of a community all the time, but on that one day, I can’t help but be happy. Having someone notice something wonderful about you and then tell you is a fabulous experience.

To me, this is what Valentine’s Day is all about. It is a symbol of genuine love and affection. It can be platonic or not, but Valentine’s Day should be a day where everyone feels good about themselves. So forget the chocolate and the store-bought cards, the cheesy lines and the frantic, elaborate planning. Next year, just send someone a note from the heart, and I guarantee it will be the best Valentine’s Day they’ve ever had.

Elizabeth Berry is a junior at Riverdale High School, and she writes is a guest columnist for the Review. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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