Grade 12 commences yearly traditions

The completed Grade 12 banner lies on the ground in the Coreen Hester Courtyard Aug. 31. Members of the grade collaborated throughout the day to decorate the banner, which Saskia Whitmoyer (’22) described as “a really great grade bonding activity.”

Isabel Link, Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Print

To celebrate the start of their final year at ASL, Grade 12 students participate in a variety of events. This year, most traditions proceeded as usual, with a few new ones on the way.

Banner-making
On the first day of school, Day X, Grade 12 students created a commemorative banner, which now hangs in Bottom O.

Saskia Whitmoyer (’22) said the tradition marks a potentially emotional time – the beginning of the end of high school. She also said, however, that it was a positive experience because it brought her and her peers back together after the summer and two other school years impacted by COVID-19.

“It kind of makes me feel a little bit closer to everyone, especially because we’ve been apart for so long,” she said.

A group of students who had a study period the morning of Aug. 31 began by painting ‘2022’ on the banner in the Office of Student Advising. Later, in the Coreen Hester Courtyard, the entire grade added colorful handprints and signatures.

Sunrise makes us feel like more one grade than a bunch of different groups, which sometimes happens throughout the year.”

— Jason Covey ('22)

Afterward, Grade 12 students wrote letters of advice to Grade 9 students which were distributed at Waverley Park during a joint barbecue lunch for the two grades.

Senior Sunrise
Whitmoyer said she had been looking forward to other bonding opportunities and Grade 12 traditions, in particular Senior Sunrise, which began Sept. 3 at 5:45 a.m at the top of Primrose Hill.

Jason Covey (’22) said Senior Sunrise, and Senior Sunset at the end of the year, are among the most valuable traditions to him.

“It makes us feel like more one grade than a bunch of different groups, which sometimes happens throughout the year,” he said.

Whitmoyer said she hopes grade-wide activities foster more time for connections in her last year of high school.

“Hopefully, people become a little more open, and we’ll have a good chance to bond with people that we haven’t bonded with before,” she said.

Changing traditions
Grade 12 Dean Rodney Yeoh said the administration is open to altering activities from year to year.

“We are always looking for ways to improve, right, what tradition works, what tradition doesn’t work,” he said. “Right now, I think all the traditions make sense, unless I get feedback from the students, who is the most important group.”

Covey said he enjoys most Grade 12 activities, such as receiving the red shirts and attending Senior Sunrise. However, he said there are “mixed feelings” in the grade about other traditions such as using Bottom O; he said he sits there occasionally but he feels it is not very important to the community.

Hopefully, people become a little more open, and we’ll have a good chance to bond with people that we haven’t bonded with before.”

— Saskia Whitmoyer ('22)

While the choice to continue some traditions remains debated, one has had to temporarily cease for another reason.

Every year, Grade 12 students walk into the annual all-school assembly in the Farmer Gym with Kindergarten students. Although, this year the tradition could not take place due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In order to still unite students, however, Yeoh said he hopes to begin a new tradition of regular collaboration with the Lower School.

“I’m meeting with [LS K2 Teacher John] O’Toole and [LS K1 Teacher Preeti] Nalwa to see how we can continue the tradition of, not just seniors walking in with the lower-schoolers, but also for them to be working with them consistently every month,” he said.

Yeoh said this work will likely entail Grade 12 groups visiting classrooms, reading to and making art with the Lower School students.