The Eighth Page

Exeter H.S. Students Verbally Abuse Exies From Cars

For nearly three months, the Phillips Exeter community has walked the streets of Exeter, New Hampshire with a newfound fear. In more than 167 reported cases, local Exeter High School students, many of whom own their own cars, have been shouting at Phillips students along campus roads. Before this year, EHS students would frequently drive by and scream the usual “PE sucks!” But in the past few months, it is clear that something is different. Instead of a well calculated insult, EHS students, or “townies,” as they’re referred to by Phillips students, have chosen a seemingly nonsensical moniker for Phillips students: “dogballs.” An EHS student, Zach Melvin, was reached by phone for an interview. “Yeah, ‘dogballs’ was my buddy’s idea. It’s been awesome. The Phillips kids have no idea what it means. But just seeing their faces, contorted with confusion and fear, is totally worth it,” Melvin said. Phillips students, however, do not share in the fun. Bert Sanders ’08 recalled his first time being “dogballed.” “I was walking along Main Street, and somebody called me ‘dogballs.’ I quickly grabbed my electronic pocket dictionary, but surprisingly, didn’t come up with anything. The closest result was ‘dodgeball’ – which brought back haunting memories of middle school. It was a really awful day,” he said. “I even visited a Latin teacher to uncover the roots of the word dogballs, all to no avail,” she added. Phillips Exeter Academy Public Safety, or PEAPS, has been actively pursuing the EHS students. “We almost caught one last week,” said Officer John Ferraro, “but I couldn’t keep up with his Honda on my bicycle.” PEAPS has encouraged Phillips students not to respond to the “dogball” shouts, but to ignore them and let the adults handle the situation. Officer Ferraro said, “The last thing we need is somebody getting out of their care and smacking our students around. Then they’d return to EHS and brag about ‘beating dogballs.’” It seems the EHS students do not discriminate between male and female Phillips students when ‘dogballing.’ Even faculty members have been harassed on their way home or to their classes. “Who else gets called ‘dogballs’ when they’re walking to work? Not a lawyer. Certainly not a doctor. This profession gets no respect,” said Perry Morton, an instructor in mathematics. At EHS, the students are pleased with the result of the onslaught of “dogballing.” Senior Cheryl Johnson said, “I didn’t get into Phillips Exeter, so this is my way of getting back at them. I ‘dogball’ the admissions office all the time.” “The best part,” Junior Sam Morris said, “is that they have no idea what it means. I bet they spend all their time trying to figure out what ‘dogballs’ are. But we’re just trying to mess with them. We’re literally calling them a dog’s testicles.” There do not seem to be any obvious causes for the recent surge in interscholastic tensions. “I can deal with being called a ‘dogball.’ I heard a lot worse at my old school,” said Steven Winters ’09. “I just don’t understand why we can’t get along with EHS. We’re all affluent, white and American. Since when did that prevent friendship?” Phillips students are anxious to arrange a meeting with their public school counterparts. They hope that a relationship can be forged that will alleviate the animosity between the two schools. The Phillips Student Council, StuCo, has begun organizing a dance that will unite Phillips students and EHS students. One EHS student, upon hearing of the plans for an interscholastic dance, offered his suggestion for the dance’s name. “The Dog Ball.”