The Class of 2020

At last, three years have gone by like a flash and the seniors are only months away from finishing their career at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes. As we get into the home stretch of the 2019-20 school year in the next few months, The Voice discusses “senioritis,” getting ready for the end of their high school careers, and how the seniors have found their path through the past three years.

Although many seniors already are into college and are ready and waiting for graduation, there is still one more hurdle before the finish line - making it to graduation. Senioritis is highly infectious, even moreso than the Coronavirus, and it can quickly trip some seniors up. Lack of motivation, for those who are already accepted into college, is a very prevalent symptom. Study time goes down, homework completion grades dive and participation grades are at risk. Unlike the previous three years, second semester seniors have no incentive to strive for a 4.0 GPA when it doesn’t benefit them or their transcripts. 

Essentially, second semester seniors who have been diagnosed with senioritis only need to do the bare minimum to stay in their college. When asked in an interview, Alice Hurley, a senior said “now that it is the second semester I take the learning for me, not just for my college resume, every class before this year was always for my application.” 

She is not the only person who feels this way. Kathryn Atkinson, another senior when asked a question related to motivation, said, “I am kinda done right now, it's hard to be motivated, there's no reason for my grades to be up anymore. Before this year everything was for my college application, now it's not like that.” At this point in the year, all seniors have clicked the submit button on their applications and have either decided where they are going to go next year, are deciding, or are waiting for the final decisions to come out before April 1st. 

In terms of workload, senior year is similar to junior year with one exception: college. In the first semester, college applications are on everyone’s mind. From the start of the year, college applications as well as supplements add more work to the classes people are taking. No matter what the rigor of the classes you take, everyone has college applications, and everyone has the same deadlines. 

Ms. Cranford, an English teacher who teaches both freshmen and seniors, said “I have a lot of sympathy for 1st semester seniors and the extra workload and anxiety that’s placed on them because of the college process. Which maybe contributes to some of the 2nd semester feeling. It’s like, you’ve worked so hard, don’t you deserve to play a little? Except not yet.”

Grace Unes noted that she felt incredibly overwhelmed in the first semester of her senior year. “I was a lot worse than I thought it would go. I thought that it was going to be all fine and dandy because I like writing. Once I got into it, I realized there were a lot of supplements.”

“You gotta watch for the deadlines. It’s pretty straight forward, not a lot of surprises, but they can come up on you quickly,” Sam Biondi said about college applications. 

Most seniors said that a brighter future and staying accepted where they plan to go next year is what keeps the bus driving for them. However Mary Adeline Stiers applied to college over the summer, which is highly unusual at SSSAS. She explained that this made her senior year, “easier than I thought, because everyone else was crying about college and all I had to do was press a button and send it in.”

Ms. Cranford said “When you know that something is going to end, you stop focusing so much on the thing and more on the end... that’s what I see in some seniors halfway through the second semester.” However Dr. Sidle expressed a different opinion, and stated, “Whereas the seniors are in a different place it's not necessarily a negative space, it is not worse, they're a little more relaxed, still interested in learning. They are coasting a little more.”

Not only has the academic scene changed, but so has the social structure. The social structure has a tendency to be fluid, but at this point it has been three years since freshman year and people have found their place. The general feel of the social structure is very different depending on who is asked. 

Carter Campbell said “there hasn’t really been a social structure. It’s a really small group of people. Most of us are friends, and no one feels like they’re better than anyone else.” 

Mary Adeline shares a similar feeling, stating “I feel like we have been a lot more united as a grade especially, like Shrine Mont I think worked really well especially for the girls. I’ve gotten so close to people I didn’t really think of as friends in years previous.”

Grace Unes explains how her friendships have evolved during her time at SSSAS. She explains, “I’m still really close to the people I was close to freshman year, but also I’ve expanded and gotten new friends as the years have gone on. Every year you make more and more closer friends, and about senior year you walk into the senior lounge and I don’t ever feel like there’s someone I can’t talk to.”

Sydney Cordero expresses a different opinion. When asked if there are cliques in the senior class she said, “There’s so much exclusion between [people] our grade. It’s so hard to fit in. I feel like it’s really awkward if you go up to a random person or a group of people. They all judge you. You just feel excluded all the time.” 

Despite remaining feelings of exclusion, the Senior Lounge is a common comfort for many seniors. Tyson Tilch comments, “I think everyone’s bonded a lot. Especially with the Senior Lounge.” According to a survey of 28 seniors, 64.3% of survey takers said that they eat lunch in the Senior Lounge. Additionally, 46.4% reported eating off campus sometime during the week. The newfound freedom of leaving during lunch and free periods is widely taken advantage of by many seniors, and Nick Griepentrog explains, “the most social people are the ones with cars mainly because you’re able to go off campus during free periods.” 

When it comes to sports, it has been three years full of blood, sweat, and tears; complete devotion and effort towards building the seniors into leaders. They are finally at the top, the captains and role models that the newer players look to for leadership and inspiration. They have been led and guided by their coaches and previous seniors, and now it is their turn to take the reins and take control of the team and steer them into the right direction. 

Nik Sen Dasgupta, senior captain of wrestling, reflects, “being a senior, you have the responsibility to look good in front of all of the underclassmen and all the juniors. You want them to have a good example of an upperclassmen or leader. At least with wrestling there would be situations where I wouldn’t care that much, but I felt like I had to act like a leader or captain like keep track of rules or be the mature one.”

Jared Cross explains how much sports have affected his most recent year in high school. He explains that he was motivated, “mainly because of basketball, I look to playing basketball whether that’s games or practice.

Leadership is often set aside for seniors who have the most experience and most influence. Patrick Lavayen is President of Juntos, vice president of the senior class, and former member on HDB. When asked if he believed being a senior impacted his ability to have those leadership roles, he explained that there was no clear answer. “The club roles yes. SCA because I’ve been there for so long. HDB because I was elected when I was a sophomore.” 

Nik Sen Dasgupta believes that he earned his leadership roles from his seniority and experience which he could pass on to younger students. “I think a big reason that I was a president of ACT (Asians Conquering Territory) was I went to SDLC (Student Diversity Leadership Conference) , and I learned a lot of stuff at SDLC, so I just thought that being the president of gave me the opportunity to pass on all the stuff I learned from the conference which not a lot of kids could do.”

The academic school year is coming to a close quickly, with Spring Break around the corner, and the question seniors are either thinking about or not is what they’re going to leave behind. What is their legacy and how will they be remembered? Will it be on the sports field? Or in the theatre? Or in the classroom? With every passing day, these thoughts buzz around the mind of a senior. Knowing that soon it will be the last time here at the school. 

Isaac Ahdoot, saxophone section leader, explains the importance of his impact on other students in jazz band as well as those pursuing music in anyway. “It makes me have higher expectations for myself, so I expect to do better on musical things, and if I don’t I feel like I’m letting myself down and maybe letting other people down. It motivates me to keep practicing.”

Many seniors with the coinciding thought about legacies, have also thought about the regrets that they feel now that their tenure here at SSSAS is coming to a close. Kathryn Atkinson said “I regret closing myself off until this year, I wish I had tried to get to know other friends better and wish I had talked to more people.” 

Likewise, Alice Hurley said “I regret being shy, I was too shy throughout high school, I wished I had branched out, talked to more people, and not stressed about the little things. Also I wish I had quit gymnastics earlier, I wish I had not stressed about what people thought about me. How I perceive myself is more important.” 

Some people have that thought and some do not. Jared Cross, said that he had “no regrets” during his tenure in his school. Everything he had done was what he had wanted to do in high school. 

Aside from all of their regrets the seniors did have their fair share of memorable moments. Mary Adeline Stiers discussed that, “I loved all the fun little dodgeball tournaments. I loved having the ping pong tournament on stage. I thought it was really fun and spirited. Sleepy Thompson definitely was one of my most prized high school memories because I feel like a lot of schools don't have that.”

According to our survey, 57.1% of survey takers said their favorite school event was Sleepy Thompson, 35.7% said Shrine Mont, and 3.6% said Seminary Hill Cup. Alice Hurley shared an enthusiasm for Shrine Mont, and said that her favorite moment was “sitting at the top of the mountain at Shrine Mont because seeing the view with the whole grade made the long hike well worth it. It was a great bonding experience.” 

Tyson Tilch commented that his favorite moments were “the basketball games, Sleepy, the Episcopal friday night games, and the get togethers afterwards.” 

Sylvie Weiman explained her favorite moments were more academically geared instead of sports oriented. “Colloquium for the Common Good because that’s the kind of learning that I want to be learning. It is relevant.”

As the school year winds down at an alarming rate, what will the seniors do to create a legacy for themselves? Only time will tell when every senior takes that last walk down the hallway and then that long walk in the middle of all of the teachers, diploma in hand as this chapter comes to a finish.