SCRIBES: High Five to JAGS Spirit!

by Shaunacy Barron, St. Joseph’s Catholic High School

featuring the work of young journalists from Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District High Schools

On May 24th, the staff and students of St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Barrie joined hands to celebrate community and acceptance of one another.

A high five is universally recognized as a hand gesture between two individuals, typically a sign of recognition for doing something well. However, the meaning of this day went beyond the definition.

There is some debate over who “invented” the high five, but it is widely claimed that it was Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke. Burke became known for this gesture after he spontaneously high-fived teammate Dusty Baker after Baker’s 30th home run of the season in a 1977 game against the Houston Astros. Although this gesture dates back to at least the 1920s, it was the energy and joy the entire crowd felt as they witnessed the high five that made this moment so special. The Dodgers quickly adopted the high five as a symbol of team pride.

Unfortunately, Burke’s MLB career was short-lived. He was the first MLB player to openly come out to his teammates and team owners. Burke received major backlash and controversy following his announcement, however, he continues to be recognized as an unsung hero who wasn’t afraid to defy stereotypes and stand for equality.

Commemorating Glenn Burke’s legacy, the St. Joe’s community shared countless high fives between all grades and staff on May 24th. Part of this initiative was coming up with a special handshake that shared meanings of inclusion, friendship, and pride.