Senior Week–a reflection



Senior Week

This is how we hope that it will be…

Senior week. The week that leads up to Graduation, May 23, 2020. The senior’s last hurrah of the year before they go off to college and start a new chapter of their lives. While they may be leaving, they will always be connected to SHA and leave a lasting impression on the school. The week is the culmination of senior year. A celebration of their achievements. It sends the seniors off to graduation, while also leaving an impact on each class.

Senior week usually starts the Friday (this year the Thursday) of the week before graduation, with what is called Senior Fun Day. The seniors decorate their uniforms with the name, colors, and emblems of their chosen college. One particular senior says it is, “a way to paint away our high school career and become one with our college.” They cut up their polo shirts, that annoying band at the bottom in particular, and do the same to their kilts. Then on the Thursday, they run crazy through the halls of the school, screaming at the top of their lungs, while the underclassmen line the halls.

This is a day that is enjoyed by everyone. The freshmen, sophomores and juniors get to see the seniors run around like lunatics and get tired after two minutes, then wait for the others in the café. The seniors get to celebrate graduating in a unique way that looks forward to the future. One senior says “running is a celebration of the work we did…it allows us to celebrate how far we’ve come but also to celebrate the underclassmen and them moving up.” After seeing the seniors run like crazy, this becomes a special thing that each class looks forward to doing themselves as seniors. It is almost like senior fun day is the mark of senior year – besides the sweatshirts, of course.

In the week that follows Senior Fun Day, each class gets to have a special goodbye with the seniors: the freshmen/senior ice cream social, sophomore/senior breakfast, and the junior/senior dinner. In each one, the seniors get to give their final goodbyes to their underclassmen friends. It is a “great opportunity to pass advice onto the underclassmen,” one senior says after being asked what senior week means to her. It is their last chance to give the other classes the little tips and tricks that got them through four tough years. These intimate end-of-year activities are the last few fun times in the seniors’ high school careers before they move on to college; it “is really a way to say my last goodbyes to the seniors and make a last few memories with them before they move onto the next chapter of their lives,” a junior says. It is a farewell that you do not know you need until it happens.

The whole week is certainly an emotional time. The seniors graduate and go off to college, the juniors become the new seniors and everyone has to remember to go to their new section of the café come next August. The seniors and juniors being so close in age, they have such an overlap of friends. The junior/senior yearbook supper celebrates those friendships in a close-knit way, and allows the seniors to pass the torch. A junior, when asked if senior week made her realize that she was going to be a senior, says,  “When senior week is over it is like, ‘oh my gosh, we’re going to be seniors next year, time flew by and we’re going to be the new leaders.’” It is almost a transition for the juniors. It wakes them up and makes them realize that they are going to be the ones stressing about the Common App, FAFSA, and the difference between early decision and early action. For the juniors it is a farewell to the seniors, but also a new beginning for them, for after the seniors graduate, they are now the seniors.

For the seniors in particular, it holds a special meaning in the hearts of almost each and every one. They see four different classes of seniors run through the halls. They have been the freshmen in the ice cream social, the sophomores at the breakfast, and the juniors at the supper and finally they get to be the seniors at each one. They finally are “fulfilling a tradition,” one senior says. The seniors get to say goodbye to their friends and the school that has seen the highs, the lows, the tears, and the rock bottoms. It is the “combination of both [a final farewell and a new beginning] because it is a fun ending to our high school career but also beginning of our college career,” says a senior. Just like the underclassmen, the seniors have been looking forward to this since they first realized that it happened.

Freshmen become sophomores, sophomores become juniors, juniors become seniors and seniors become freshmen again. This week allows SHA students to celebrate the work they did that got them into the great colleges that they chose. The seniors can thank the faculty and staff for teaching, pushing, helping, and supporting them. They can thank guidance for all the wonderful things they do from bugging us about deadlines, to being there for us when we need a good cry – for trying to understand the two words between every ten sobs. They can wish the underclassmen well in dealing with the new batch of slow walking freshman, and celebrate how far each of them has come. At the same time showing them the great many things they have to look forward to.

Senior week. A time honored tradition celebrating hard work, joyful endings, and exciting beginnings. An emotional, yet exhilarating time that each class cannot wait to experience as seniors themselves. The time for seniors to celebrate and say farewell. A tradition long held in the hearts of students that we hope we will get to see and enjoy again this year.