Well, seniors, congratulations seem to be in order. As your last round of real finals creeps around the corner, you’re left with a new claim to fame; you’re going to be a Second-Semester Senior. With this great title bears great responsibility. There’s a certain reputation to live up to. As someone who got the honor of spending my last months of high school on McKinley Rd., I’m here to offer some unsolicited advice.
Christen the commons.
This may come as a shock to you, but not many other schools have a space like the commons. And, not many other schools have student DJ’s that perform at lunch, dance parties run by our favorite dread-locked hip-hop star, or Giorgi Ballis teaching people to “yeet” in the middle of the circle just to put a smile on everyone’s face. It’s no secret that it’s a senior birth-right, although not exclusive, to sit there. So, take advantage of those casual conversations with your friends, watching the egg drop projects, and hopefully witnessing an awesome promposal that has every head turned (seriously guys, I can think of a million things to do in there, hmu for ideas). My point is, embrace that space and the people in it, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Go to a new sporting event, or other thing that you’ve never been to before.
I cannot stress this one enough. We’ve all been packed in the bleachers for the Homecoming football game, or at the Stevenson basketball game when the gym is severely over capacity, but what about the other groups? The Spring Musical, a badminton match, robotics tourneys, volleyball games, anything that you wouldn’t usually go to, get a group and get there! My senior year, I went to a swim meet and it was SO FUN. The energy was insane, the races were easy to follow, and it was really cool to experience something I didn’t know. Shout out to Joey Franklin for that one. You may not have gotten first place, but you’ll get em’ someday, speedster.
Actually get to know that one kid who sits next to you in math class.
Although most of you have been going to school together for years, you aren’t all friends, and that’s okay. But, there’s always those people that sit a mere foot away in class that have barely spoken a word to each other and almost never say hi to in the hall. Change that. Even though you might not talk after high school, there’s always that chance that you get to know someone you really, really like. You don’t have to know their life story, or hang out with them after school, just a simple “Hey Jill. How are you?” is enough to strike up a day-saving conversation.
Be in a senior act.
The best part about it is that they can’t turn anyone down; it’s one of your last chances to do something together as a grade. And yea I know, you have “stage fright” and it’s “so embarrassing,” lookin’ at you guys, Seich and Jross, but newsflash people, everyone is in the same boat. That’s the fun of it! It may be painfully awkward in the moment, but watching everyone bust-a-move and embarrass their parents is SO FUNNY (i.e. The Weather Boys). Plus, when you get a deal from the undercover talent agent sitting in the audience, you’ll have me to thank. And, I’ll have you to thank for my 10%.
Go on the Spring CROYA Retreat.
I already know what you’re thinking: “I’m not a CROYA kid.” Believe me, neither was I. I had never been to one CROYA thing in my entire life, but somehow I felt so welcome at one of their most historically intense events. I was thrown in to completely unfamiliar territory and met some really amazing people, all without feeling pressured to share every aspect of my life, which is what most people, mainly me, expect. My retreat was special not only because I got to see so many of my peers in a different light, but because we had a “record number of seniors” attend. Well ’17’s, records are meant to be broken, and rumor has it Joanne Yorro is looking to go out with a bang!
Senior Ditch Day.
Talk about a rite of passage. Senior Ditch Day at Lake Forest High School is one that leaves all other high schools in awe. There’s nothing like suburban seniors attempting to navigate the El in an attempt to make the first pitch at Wrigley Field watching from the Budweiser Bleachers. But seriously, what other school goes to a Cubs game for senior ditch day? Answer: No one.
Tear it UP at Prom.
Please, for the love of the Scouts, DO NOT be that person at prom who doesn’t dance. Take advantage of the fact that you’re all there together, it will probably be one of the last times. And while I know the band isn’t The Rolling Stones or David Guetta, it’s not about the music. It’s the people singing at the top of their lungs and (hopefully) dancing to it with you. Plus, who doesn’t love a good round of “Sweet Caroline”? I know I do.
Pull a dope, yet reasonable, senior prank.
Although it may be a day all administrators dread, it’s inevitable. To me, no grade will ever beat the strike down McKinley, but that’s just IMO. Anyways, band together with your grade and have a good laugh, you deserve it. The art of the Senior Prank is one that takes hard work, discipline, and let’s face it, a TON of self-control. Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY encouraging you guys to wreak havoc on the school, just be clear on that. But, it’s something that is only successful if your grade works together to get it done, and that teamwork and bond is what makes each year’s prank unique. So, class clowns, I suggest you start your clowning ideas soon. But again, WITHIN REASON. #SorryClegg
Tell your teachers thank you.
And not just in a casual Six Pack “Mrs. V you’re so for the boys!!” kind of way. Take some time to think deeply about your years at LFHS. Which teachers really helped you, guided you, made you laugh, or cry, or just made you actually enjoy their class? I cannot stress to you all enough how important it is that you thank them personally. Write them a nice and thoughtful note, or just stay after class one day and tell them how much you appreciate them and exactly what makes them such a great teacher. Teaching is their life’s work, student-validation means more to them than any performance review. Give the people what they want here.
Brace yourself for that last day, you’ll be more emotional than you think.
Last but not least, the last. The last day of high school is something you’ll never forget. I remember feeling so weird. I knew a large part of my life and the person I had become was coming to an end, and it sucked. Each class starts with the same semi-awkward somber mood, and unless you’re Mr. Boruszak and you give A FINAL on the last day (just kidding, Mr. B)… You’ll probably have an experience like this. You’ll have that one kid presenting last minute, some fun talks about memories of the past year, and then it will hit you. That dreaded walk of the teacher to the board about to say their last words to you before sending you off. You’ll get the “thank yous”, the “you guys were awesomes”, and then they’ll start to tug on the heart strings. My worst was probably Mr. Coad’s. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. That’s right boys in the back, I looked to see if you were all crying too. And after you give your last hugs, last goodbyes, and hopefully last thank yous, you’ll make your way down the to the commons. This was probably the worst part for me, saying goodbye to and hugging people I had been in school with for so long, some for upwards of 10 years. My point is, get ready to feel uneasy, relieved, scared, happy, whatever you feel, it will be emotional—and that’s so okay.
With that, get ready for a great second semester Class of 2017. Thank you to all that I have crossed paths with during my time walking those same halls that you will be leaving so soon. You’re a remarkable class with some pretty special people, so make your time with those people count.
Best of luck! Scout Pride.