Today is the last day of the school year for my students and the last official day of work for me. Although I still have some work to do for the next few days, I don’t have any classes to teach until next school year. But, it feels so weird to be done with school. While I have been meeting with my students daily via Zoom, it doesn’t feel like the end of the school year and it doesn’t feel like a proper closure to the year. I haven’t physically seen my students in 3 months! The last day or two of the school year is always filled with kids wandering the halls and going from classroom to classroom to see friends and teachers even though they’re supposed to stay in their rooms. People are signing yearbooks or coming to buy one from me. Movies and video games are being played on the SmartBoards. I’m usually going to graduation practices to help out or practice since I mc’d senior graduations for years.
But, today is going to be different. Just final Zoom calls with my students to look back at the year and end class. It’s so sad to think about! This year has been so crazy. A global pandemic forced us to turn to distance learning and then it ended up being so bad that we were out for the remainder of the school year and not the few weeks we thought it would be. And then all the marches, riots, protests, and calls for action surrounding Black Lives Matter. It’s been a crazy year.
I don’t teach seniors anymore so I’m not particularly close with any of the students graduating this year. They’re the one group of kids I never taught in any other grade – I always seemed to miss them and they would joke that I was purposely avoiding them. I feel bad that they didn’t get a prom and their graduation isn’t happening until July and that will be so different from a normal graduation. They don’t get to walk the halls in their finals days and see their friends and teachers before they leave and get ready for college.
It all made me think of my own senior year which was more years ago than I care to admit. I was thinking yesterday about what were the highlights of my senior year. Let’s not dwell on arguments or heartbreaks, but the fun things that will always stick with me.
“Just like the rose holds her beauty among the thorns- we can gather our strength from the most unlikely places.” ― Christine Evangelo
- I remember finally getting my license a few weeks before senior year (I’m an August baby and was the last one to turn 17 of my friends) and always going out, driving around. Shopping, out to eat, football games, the beach, etc., hanging out at each other’s houses.
- Homecoming senior year was so fun because we had a big bonfire in the parking lot.
- Prom dress shopping – I remember going to a high-end mall and trying on so many gowns that were way too expensive. I ended up buying a dress online, which was such a crazy experience because I don’t think buying clothes online back in 2004 was popular. I don’t even remember where I got the dress from. It was light pink, spaghetti strap, with all-over lace detailing and two ties in the back. I got it because it reminded me of the pink dress Penny wears towards the beginning of Dirty Dancing. Anyone know what I’m talking about?
- School trip to Orlando – This trip was one of the best trips ever. I remember having so much fun. It was for an orchestra/choir trip. We had 2 or 3 coach buses and drove 16 hours from New Jersey to Florida. We were supposed to fly, but I think airfare went up to some crazy price and so we drove. The drive was memorable, exciting at times, and super uncomfortable the rest of the time. We had so much fun at all the parks, swimming in the pool, I think we only had to perform once so the rest of the time was for fun before we drove back home. I remember that The Darkness’ song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” was huge and everywhere we went the song was playing. It became like our anthem of the trip. And if you know the song, you know it’s such a good song to sing along to. We would all sing it and get into the high-pitched parts!
I’m probably forgetting a lot of other fun things from senior year of high school, but the point is these few things made my year and I’m sad for the seniors who got their year cut short and so abruptly.
But, like the quote I posted above with the photo of the roses, sometimes the things that are the most difficult and painful are what help us grow the most. The year might totally suck for some people this year, but maybe it’ll be the most important year of your life or help shape you in ways that you can’t even imagine right now.
If you’re a high school or college senior, know that I feel for you right now.
If you’re older, like me, what are some things you remember from senior year?