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Of 'Arty,' 'Kappa,' and Writing on Eggs

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Washington State law prohibits the sanctioning of "secret societies'' in schools, but "Arty" and "Kappa" are two that thrive nonetheless in Spokane.

Though their school does not permit them to advertise, assemble, or hold social events on school grounds, some 111 girls at the Lewis and Clark High School pledge allegiance to one of two sororities: the Artemiads or Kappa Chi, according to the Spokesman-Review, a Spokane newspaper.

"You can't prevent students from assembling on their own time," said Carl Rowe, an assistant principal at the high school. "The best analogy I can give is the church group. A lot of our kids are members of a church group. We do not allow sororities to publicize their activities, just as we would not allow church groups to publicize their activities."

Nevertheless, the presence of sororities is noted on campus and in town.

The newspaper reports that sorority members hold dances, wear sorority shirts, "rush" hopefuls in the6spring, and require initiates to participate in the tradition of "egg-signing."

On the surface of hollowed eggs, the initiates are told to get a certain number of signatures from members of the opposite sex. If the shell cracks, the initiate must begin again.

During "rushing," sorority members and prospective members ride in car caravans--stopping frequently for "Chinese fire drills," which involve jumping out of a car at a stoplight, running around the car, and jumping back into the car before the light turns green.

The caravans stop at secret spots, and it is at these spots that members vote on whether or not to admit the initiates into their society.

"There used to be a lot of social clubs more than 20 years ago," Mr. Crowe said. "They faded from view in the 60's, except these two."

"What they try to be is a mini-version of the college sorority," he added. "They have regular meetings. They call themselves philanthropic because at Christmas they raise money for a needy family. Their primary purpose, though, is social."

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