Senior traditions: festive, yet controversial


Lucy Knudsen, Columnist

     Every year, it’s sad to see seniors leave. After four years of sports, classes, and extracurriculars, each senior builds a strong foundation at Friends that is difficult to give up. Despite the bittersweet feeling of leaving high school behind, senior traditions offer an opportunity for the grade to leave a mark on the school before the community is irreversibly changed.

Alonia Needs ’19 finds senior traditions to be beneficial to the overall community: “Senior traditions such as senior week or skip day are really important because they bond the class. These traditions are a final thing for the grade to do together.” According to Needs, traditions mean more than just fun; they are a way for the grade to connect one last time before students go their separate ways. Needs went on to say: “It’s exciting to see the class unite at the end of the year.” Needs also mentioned her Senior exploration, which involves working with local government: “For my Senior exploration I’m shadowing New Castle County Council representative Dee Durham. Yesterday I went to the Dover legislation building and testified for her House Bill 130 to ban the use of plastic bags in the state of Delaware. It got passed so it’s going to the House floor.” If the bill is passed in Congress, Delaware will be one of the few states to drastically cut down on waste by banning plastic bags!

     Akin to Needs, Ross Clark ’19 sees the value in taking a lighthearted approach to the final stretch of high school. Clark mentioned, “I think that senior traditions like the prank and rave (happiness) day are what makes the last week of school so fun. After four years of hard work, letting Seniors mess around for a week seems reasonable.” Clark continued, “As long as what we’re doing isn’t offensive or really disruptive, I think that it’s totally OK, like our balloon prank or moving all the plants into the senior hallway.” It is worth noting that this year’s Seniors took it upon themselves to clean up after each themed day for senior week. So long as they take responsibility for the mess they create, it seems reasonable that seniors be allowed to celebrate the end of high school. Clark concluded: “I hope that all these senior traditions keep happening in the future, and some of the faculty who aren’t the biggest fans of them realize their value in the Friends community.” Hopefully Clark’s wishes will be fulfilled, so long as future seniors continue to be responsible for their actions.

     Contrastingly, Connor Nisbet ’19 sees the potential for senior traditions to go wrong: “While many senior traditions are certainly fun, it’s important that what we do has meaning and we’re not just going through the motions. For instance, senior skip day starts to lose value when seniors get out so early anyway, and doing a senior prank just to follow tradition is anticlimactic and makes it not funny.” Although Senior traditions bring the community together, they need to be well thought-out to be truly funny and meaningful. On another note, Nisbet also worked with running media network MileSplit. Nisbet spoke about his experience: “Interning at MileSplit was an amazing opportunity. Being a part of videos, articles, rankings lists and meeting the people behind it all brought newfound respect for the process and was an intriguing experience.” Nisbet finished his comment by saying: “Cory and Bryan were great mentors, and Austin was an unforgettable city.” Like Nisbet, many Seniors use the opportunity and time granted by Senior explorations to focus on a passion and learn about something new.

Head of School, Rebecca Zug, also shared her remarks: “The last weeks of school for seniors are very poignant. Seniors are ready to leave and pushing limits is typical. On the other hand, it is our job as teachers to keep the rules of engagement consistent and predictable, to be understanding yet firm. It is a tricky balancing act for all involved!” Zug went on to mention how seniors have dealt with traditions in the past years: “I’ve seen some rough exits from senior classes at other schools but mostly everything at WFS is celebratory and positive. I was completed fooled by 2019 into leaving my office to look for chickens. In the meantime, they filled my office with balloons! Who can have a problem with that?” As Clark stated earlier, Zug reminds us all that although celebrations can be a positive way to end the year, Seniors must be careful not to go too far.

     Based on interviews with seniors, it seems that overall senior traditions are an excellent way for the grade to celebrate the past four years before moving on. However, a certain level of attention to detail and care must be paid to ensure that the festivities are meaningful to the grade as well as respectful to the other members of the Friend community.