Purpose of New Varsity Letters

Recently, athletic director Bill Klose distributed varsity letters to student-athletes. While on the surface, these are only floppy pieces of brown and gold felt, they have an indescribable sentimental value. “Its purpose is to be a memento to remember Friends Select and Friends Select Athletics,” Bill explains. “It’s something alumni can look back on and feel proud of.” 

Though some at FSS may be unfamiliar with the concept, varsity letters are an American tradition. In most schools, the process is simple. After a student participates in a varsity sport, they receive their varsity letter. 

Varsity letters were an integral part of Friends Select Athletics until a few years ago when the tradition was suddenly dropped. Since Bill was promoted to the position of Athletic Director, he’s wanted to bring them back, but FSS students are conflicted on the topic. 

Some feel as though the letters are useless, especially without an accompanying varsity jacket. Hannah Sieg ‘20, a three-sport varsity athlete, strongly dislikes them. She thinks, “The letters are dumb because we don’t have anywhere to put them.” Basketball star, Dean Wang ‘20 agrees: “I don’t care about the letters. I’d rather have gear.”

  Bill understands the feelings of these students. “Yes, a long time ago, people would put the letters on varsity jackets,” he says. “But nowadays, they don’t. They put them in their car or on their mirror to look at and remember their accomplishments.” This is how schools like Penn Charter and Germantown Academy distribute their letters.

While some agree with Hannah and Dean, others appreciate the letters. Rachel Luce ‘21 thinks the varsity letters are great and wishes they had been introduced earlier. She doesn’t care whether they come with a jacket or not and says that to her, they are symbolically valuable: “I’m so glad we’re getting something to remember our time at FSS that’s not just a yearbook. I like this tradition. I’m happy we’re doing it again.”

Despite the issue of where to put these new letters, Hannah dislikes them for another reason. She says, “Anyone who plays a sport gets them, so it’s not impressive. At Friends Select, getting your varsity letters isn’t special. It means nothing.” 

Essentially, Hannah is right. FSS is so small that most students are involved in sports, and almost all are varsity athletes. Bill, though, thinks there’s no other way to go about this, even if a larger percentage of the student body is receiving varsity letters than at other high schools.  

Mia Cohen ‘21, a dedicated player on both the field hockey and softball teams, thinks the letters are important no matter how many students receive them. She says: “They definitely are not meaningless. They’re meaningful because they are something we can take with us after we graduate to remember our athletic accomplishments at FSS.”

Bill stands behind his decision to bring back varsity letters and says that “if kids don’t like it, they don’t have to have it.” He wants students to have the best athletic experience possible and hopes that revamping this FSS tradition will be well received by the community. Pick up your varsity letters from Bill today!