Starting senior year with flair

Pom-poms, polos, and pickup trucks. You may not think it, but these were all part of my first day of senior year.

Opening day is a special occasion for seniors at Greenwich Academy. Every year, the seniors organize a procession onto campus during which the girls storm the school chanting their graduation year (“four-teen, four-teen”) through the hallways and then form a gauntlet of seniors through which underclassmen must proceed to be greeted by high-fives, hugs, and, sometimes, smears of red paint.

The 82 girls of the Class of 2014 congregated at 6:50 a.m. (much to the annoyance of North Maple residents) more ready than ever to start the school year due to the anticipation of the beginning of the last year of high school (and, for most, many cups of caffeine).

On that humid and misty September morning, the GA parking lot was a sea of red. There were girls in red baseball caps, red cars and trucks, red body paint, red pom-poms, red sunglasses and, of course, red polos to complement the hints of red in the GA kilt. Red is worn exclusively by seniors at GA, so the first day of school attire was obviously an act of retaliation after so many years of red-deprivation.

Why is our first day of school, a very ordinary ritual, celebrated with such pomp and circumstance? Certainly, this first day of school display is about more than reminding the underclassmen that we have made it to the top of the high school food chain (metaphorically speaking) and graffitiing the windows of our high school with class catchphrases (“One Four The Ages” is my class’s slogan).

When I came to GA in 2006, 2014 seemed light years away. It was just the number used to label class roster and our FirstClass email conference, but I never actually thought I would hear the number “fourteen” chanted in the opening-day ceremony gauntlet.

The first day of school activities temporarily distract the seniors from the pressures that come with being school leaders, club presidents and team captains as well as the stress of the endless self-evaluation questions of college applications. Even more so, the first day of school parade is a celebration of all the years the 82 of us have spent together as the Class of 2014.

Somehow, as we paraded up the Greenwich Academy hill in our red gear, all the early-morning extra help sessions, the bleak walks across “the path” in the middle of snowstorms and the late-night sports practices or play rehearsals seemed worthwhile.

Now, in the midst of filling out the common application and fielding questions from teachers and parents about college tours, interviews and essays, many of us seem to have forgotten the excitement. But seeing remnants of that day around school — chips of red paint on the windows or a forgotten red baseball cap — reminds us how much we have accomplished together and that we have to cherish this last year together because 2014 is fast approaching.

 

Maggie Carangelo is a senior at Greenwich Academy.

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