Recently, some of my friends and I took on the task of planning the Chestatee RACE Senior trip.
I called a tour company that looked promising, and as I waited on my free quote, I was giddy with excitement. Turns out, they only plan senior trips for the elderly.
After that initial disappointment, I went back to searching for tour companies that looked more promising. Little did we know how stressful this journey would turn out to be.
With all the scrambling we do to apply to colleges, get senior pictures taken, visit every last football game and study for pop-quizzes we still despise, it really is a beautiful and peaceful last season of school for most.
Many schools have ways to reward their seniors for four years of hard work and dedication.
Johnson High School seniors experience privileges ending the school year earlier than other grades.
“Being a senior defines all the hard work, dedication and sleepless nights,” said senior Betsy Segoria. “It’s one step closer to achieving many great things ahead of us. Not only that, but we get privileges as well, like going to home games for free, getting out one week earlier, as well as (participating in) senior skip day.”
Students at Chestatee High School have a special outdoor senior eating area, which fills up fast during warmer months.
For those not willing to sacrifice the coveted indoor eating area to underclassmen, early release lunch periods are very popular. It gives us that extra five minutes we need to either warm up our food or socialize with friends in the previous lunch period.
“I like going to lunch earlier, because I don’t have to wait in line for so long,” said Katie Hooper, a senior at Chestatee. “I get to have that time to eat and talk with friends.”
Also, for drivers, the Chestatee art department is offering to paint personalized parking spots to fundraise for art projects. So far, beautiful logos or patterned monograms are gracing parking spots for all to see.
Seniors from North Hall High School paint everyone’s name on the school tower at the beginning of the school year.
They also have “Senior Dress-up Day,” which always falls on Halloween or the day before.
Flowery Branch High School seniors get to be on the front lines of the student section, named “The Dark Side,” at football games.
“Flowery Branch offers a lot of privileges to its seniors — among them being able to sit outside during lunch, senior socials and breakfasts, etc.,” said Kelsey McQueen from Flowery Branch High. “And, this year, finally being a senior myself, I must say, my personal favorite is ... being able to sit at the front of The Dark Side. More than anything, I love that sense of importance and urgency at the games, considering it’s our last everything, and I think being in the front of the student section best captures that feeling.”
Some schools provide their students more opportunities to visit games throughout the school year to create a sense of school pride in their seniors before they graduate.
“My favorite senior privilege would be the platinum badges because they get you into all home sporting events for free and allow you to eat out at the patio during lunch period,” said Jesse Cooper, a senior at East Hall High School.
Platinum badges are offered to some seniors, depending on grades.
West Hall High School seniors also can enjoy free games with platinum badges, the privilege of panning homecoming and participating in class activities.
"This far into the year I have been involved in a few things that have solely been specifically for seniors,” said De'Andre Wilson, West Hall senior class representative. “There has been nothing life changing but I'm happy to be a part of them regardless. The creation of homecoming and class activities is what I have looked forward to the most in terms of privileges, but others such as platinum pride I have not cared much for.
“Things that the class can participate in as a whole is much more beneficial as opposed to something restricted to the minority within the class. This year, I am looking forward to the privileges that appear throughout the year and am ready to encourage the class of 2016 to participate in all that they can and leave their mark on this school.”
"I believe that senior privileges began at West Hall under the realization that the senior's final year of high school should be celebrated,” said senior Hanna Alfredsson. “These privileges bring a sense of unity among the seniors by rewarding our hard work and status at the school. “Here at West Hall, these privileges help me personally by making me feel that the effort that I've put in the past 11 or 12 years is appreciated and recognized. It also makes me enjoy my final year here at West Hall even more.
Being a senior means having a laid back last year after 11 years of hard work, or it means scrambling to be a part of every last club and activity before the year ends.
The latter describes me. Often I feel like I purposefully stuffed my plate to go out with a bang, but it can be overwhelming sometimes.
Senior year is all about being yourself and finding your way, enjoying all the lasts and being respected by your peers. Cherish this time and look to the future and what it holds for each of us.
We made it!