The beginning of the end
Three hundred and seventy-one. To most this is just a number and a reader probably wishes I wouldn’t mention math this close to the end of the year. However, for the rising senior class, 371 means a little bit more. It is the number of days that remain until the class of 2019’s graduation.
Two years ago, current Harvard freshman Yuri-Grace Ohashi took seniors on a journey through their senior year and prepared them for their upcoming college experiences, as she wrote the class of 2017’s Senior Walk. Over the course of the next 12 months, I hope to do the same for the class of 2019 as they take on their final year of high school and the last moments before the next chapter of their lives. Class of 2019, this is your Senior Walk.
Today marks the start of the end for the class of 2019. Since the class of 2018 took their final walk through the halls yesterday, every grade has taken on a new title leaving the juniors to become the seniors. This new label may seem useless right now, but even today the benefits of being a senior are showing up.
“I’m more relaxed,” rising senior Maxwell Meyhoefer said. “It’s nice to know that my future is solidified and that I’m one of the leaders of the school.”
This morning, the newly appointed seniors got their first taste of the high life. Class officers hosted a tailgate in the parking lot to honor the new kings of the school and begin the celebrating that will surely last the course of the next year.
“After seeing two classes of seniors have their tailgate and wear their senior shirts, it was really cool finally getting to do that,” rising senior Carson Hines said. “My friends and I had a great time playing games and hanging out.”
Another celebration method being used today is the wearing of senior shirts. Each year, the senior class has the option of purchasing their own shirts which they wear throughout senior year. The shirts have each student’s nickname on them and today is the first day the class of 2019 has ever worn them at school.
While today is the beginning of the end, it also is the start of what will be a great year. The class of 2019 has worked extremely hard to get to this point and I look forward to covering the events that will surely shape an eventful year.
For now, seniors enjoy your first day and summer vacation. Go Panthers, and in the words of the class of 2019’s current logo, “Do b19 things!”
The last first week
Alarm clocks buzz at seven in the morning, aisles and aisles of pencils and paper are on display in the stores, and long yellow buses drive down the streets. This can only mean one thing: school is back in session. And for the class of 2019, it has started for the last time.
“Our overall objective is do our absolute best to make our class’ last year of high school as memorable and special as possible,” senior class president Tori Davis said.
Three months ago I began writing about the class of 2019’s Senior Walk and made it my goal to cover everything that will go on throughout our final year of high school. Now that coverage will continue as the school year has officially begun and the countdown to the end continues with only 280 days remaining until graduation.
The first week of school brought several milestone moments for the new kings of Starr’s Mill. On Aug. 5, the senior class chose their claims of the school parking lot by marking their parking spaces in chalk. They also had an opportunity to paint senior-related words on their vehicle’s windows so the world will know who now rules the Mill.
The first week also brought the start to senior portrait season. This past Friday and Saturday, Cady Studios visited the Mill and took senior yearbook photos. Seniors also have been getting pictures from other places to commemorate their final year of required schooling.
Seniors also were treated to three dress up days on the first week that went along with the traditions of the Mill. Monday was white senior shirt day, Wednesday was wacky shirt day, and Thursday was jersey day. These dress up days proved successful for the class of 2019 and kept the annual customs of past senior classes alive.
Two major events occurred this past week for the seniors. The first was the first senior executive board meeting of the year. It was on Thursday and took place in Vicki Morgan’s room where planning for all the major events for seniors took place, including tailgating and Homecoming.
The second was a senior tailgate that was held in the student parking lot on the first day of school. This was the senior’s second tailgate and was a celebration of the start of a new year.
Both events allowed the class to get together and socialize, and start getting all the preparations together for a great senior year. “We are doing things that haven’t traditionally been done by other [senior] classes,” Davis said. “We are in the workings of planning Powder Puff for Promise, a Powder Puff game that will be played between juniors and seniors to raise money for Promise Place [and] also are working to plan a great homecoming hallway, float, and pep rally.”
The class of 2019’s senior year is off to a good start. And while the celebrations have already started, the entire year cannot be all partying. The next major week for seniors will not be until Homecoming Week starting on Sept. 17. So for now I say congratulations seniors for starting the end of your high school career and good luck in your classes.
Photo via Flickr (Aldon Hayes) under Creative Commons license
The Prowler’s guide to college prep
This entry of Senior Walk is gonna be a pretty big eye opener for some, so I feel the best way to start is to say there are only 233 days until graduation. That’s right — the days are numbered until the first chapter of their lives ends and seniors experience the freedom after high school. However, with the end of high school comes the start of college and a lot must be done before then.
Some say senior year is the easiest year in high school. The classes aren’t too difficult, seniors can exempt all exams second semester, and at this point students are accustomed to the high school atmosphere. But senior year has its fair share of hard work. At this point seniors have a long list of items they need to get done before graduation, including: SAT/ ACT finalization, applying to colleges at appropriate times, and hunting for scholarships and financial aid.
“You don’t want to put anything off or procrastinate,” guidance counselor Colleen Petty said. “I know seniors have a lot on their plate and a lot of them are in AP classes which are demanding and time consuming, but you have to [do applications]. For example, this weekend we have Monday and Tuesday off and if they can just dedicate three hours one day and three the next, they probably could be done with those.”
SAT/ ACT finalization is the first thing seniors need to complete. While it may seem like there are still many tests ahead to take, it is wise for seniors to be wrapping up these tests since they need their scores to apply to colleges, scholarships, and other programs. It can also lead to final decisions about college since the scores determine the scholarships that will determine college cost and selection.
“What [seniors] need to be focusing on is probably finishing up their SAT or ACT [and] October or maybe November should probably be their last tests,” Petty said.
After the testing is complete, it’s time to start with college applications. If you are planning on going the regular admissions route, you still have a few months to get everything you need together. However, the time is almost done for early action and early decision as most colleges will close this feature at the latest on Nov. 1. Some colleges even closed their applications this past Monday. But with all that said you may be wondering why is it even worth it to apply early and not take the extra months that comes with regular admissions? The answer is simple: money.
Before I can explain the advantages of early applications, it is important to understand the difference of early action and early decision. They are two different things. Early action is the one you are going to want to do when applying to college, as it allows you to apply early, find out if you got in early, and nothing more. Early decision, however, automatically enrolls you into the college with little chance of escape, if you get in. This means if you hit this button and get into a school, you are there for at least the next year. And the only thing you get out of this is you find out a little earlier than the early action people. Long story short, only use early decision if you are 100 percent sure you are going to a school.
The advantages of early application are pretty simple. First, it allows you to know if you got into a school before most others and can allow you to choose a school by Christmas break. Wouldn’t having a college already selected going into second semester be nice? It also gives you access to all the scholarships being given away by schools in January and February, when most of the money is up for grabs. This money, by the way, won’t be available to most regular decision people, so remember that as the early application deadline comes closer.
“The main reason to do an early action is that you get your answer earlier,” Petty said. “And then you can breathe a sigh of relief because it cannot only be stressful it can be expensive.”
The final thing seniors need to worry about is scholarships and financial aid. If college could be summed into one word, “expensive” would be a good choice. Student loan debt increases every year, so it is important to choose a college that you can actually afford. The best way to make that choice more doable is with scholarships. Free money is being given out by all kinds of organizations who just want writing samples or proof that you did something. Look for them! If you just apply to one scholarship every week until graduation, just think about all that money you could have toward college. Also, if going in state remember to stay on course for HOPE, which gives 80 percent of tuition and Zell Miller, which pays the rest of HOPE.
Financial aid also can help pay for college. In fact, it is required if you even want a chance at the scholarships colleges are giving away. Financial aid is government funds given to students to pay for college. You can apply for it starting Oct. 1, and it needs to be completed as part of most school’s application process.
Seniors have lots to do before they can start college next year, so get on it. And to end on a more exciting note, remember October starts senior nights for fall sports. Go out and support your senior athletes!