Erin Guydish Buchholz, PhD
“It’s the last First Friday of high school for the rest of your lives.”
The list of "last firsts" grows as seniors continue through their final year of high school. Some of them are major events - last varsity sports games, last musical performances, prom - and some are so quiet they might forever pass by our seniors unnoticed. That's where the Senior Sunrise comes in.
On our seniors' last "First Friday", the tennis courts were quickly, and mostly quietly, filled with containers of coffee, boxes of doughnuts, a few blankets, cameras, lots of smiles - surprising for how early everyone was out of bed - and a large group of seniors.
What exactly is Senior Sunrise besides perhaps one of the most fun fall events one could think of? Getting to have warm coffee and doughnuts on a cool morning while donning sweaters and chunky blankets in the warm glow of an orange sunrise - It’s hard to imagine a more perfect fall morning.
But it’s more than just a way to celebrate seasonal wardrobes and morning treats.
Students explained Senior Sunrise and its purpose in a variety of ways. Grayson noted it was neat to “know that we're going into this school year using the sunrise as a celebration of one of our last 'firsts' together.”
Sophia explained its significance as “forever being one of the most heartwarming memories of my senior year. It was so beautiful to see the senior class come together to celebrate our first full week as seniors. I will remember the feeling of everyone's love around me and will cherish this memory for years to come.”
Emily offered her advice to upcoming classes when considering an early morning or collaborative event during their school year, “Having a collective ending and beginning to the year only adds to the whole feeling of nostalgia and appreciation for our high school experience coming to an end.”
In addition to feeling connected to Grier’s campus and friends, some students spoke on other important aspects of the Grier experience that Senior Sunrise offered them.
Edie reflected, “My favorite memory of senior sunrise was whenever Ms. Crago came up to the tennis court to join us and upon seeing us all together, she teared up and we all cheered. It was such a special moment with people who I'm so close to, and seeing Ms. Crago express the emotions we were all feeling was very moving.”
Senior year is filled with moments special to those experiencing them, whether it is as a student, family member, friend, or faculty/staff member. These small moments might easily go unnoticed, so taking stock of them alongside one another helps grasp the enormity hidden within.
As the year winds to a close, Senior Sunrise will have a Senior Sunset bookend, which will no doubt be just as much fun, have just as much bonding, and help those in the Grier community, especially seniors, appreciate the last "Last Friday" in high school just as much as their last "First Friday".