My younger sister is graduating from Harmony High School this year, and the summation of her tumultuous four-year experience at the school is bringing with it the familiar seesaw feelings we all experienced as soon-to-be high school graduates.
Of course, there's the whole hoopla surrounding actually graduating from high school — after four years of drudgery, it's obviously heartening to think of finally holding a diploma in your hands. No more running after GPA's (college will obviously be more chill), no more AP classes, no more frantic competition to enter the Top Ten and no more of those pesky college applications.
At the same time, my sister's been down about having to break up her old high school gang — even though many of her friends are going to the same university as her (Go Coogs!), I won't be the one to promise false hope and tell her nothing changes after high school.
For those same reasons, I think her school's dedication to devote an entire week to helping seniors create unforgettable memories is something all high schools should look into and something I regret my school didn't think of.
We did have some special events planned for seniors but prom was the main activity to look forward to; there was no Senior Skip Day, Senior Prank Day or anything like that. We did have Decision Day where we got to see a bunch of universities advertise themselves; honestly, though, that seemed much more about them then it did about us.
At Harmony, the Senior Week package came attached with heavy price tags — my father raged over it for a week before agreeing to pay for the excursions the school had planned to last all week. On Monday, the Seniors took a bus to the beach, took part in some light volunteering and stopped for a senior lunch at McDonalds. Tuesday, and the bus winded out of Houston into the quaint streets of Galveston as students admired the scenery and cooled off at Pleasure Pier. Wednesday, and seniors found themselves on Houston's seafront at Kemah Boardwalk enjoying all the associated attractions and living up to the reputation of their seniority. Thursday might have seemed a little dull considering it was only a trip to the museum; even a trip to the museum can be amazing among friends, though, and besides coming with plenty of learning and sightseeing opportunities is a spectacular way of making some lasting memories. And the crowning glory of the week was the trip to Six Flags where students stayed almost the entire day and enjoyed death-defying drops with the peers and friends who had stuck with them for the last four years.
There's something to be said about gaining a week's worth of memories in this way because we'd all like to feel like we're seniors. High school graduation isn't something that should be treated as unmemorable because it's not. It's an achievement and an accomplishment and it's accompanied with the sort of melancholy happiness that everyone who's ever watched the High School Musical franchise could attest to with the tears that were likely shed as High School Musical 3 drew to a close.
I'm not saying schools should plan such exorbitant activities as a general rule; that sort of luxury is probably better confined to the halls of charter schools, but I do believe high schools should do their utmost to make the close of senior year as unforgettable as possible. The memories made in high school can last a lifetime and the bonds, relationships and friendships are something that should be immortalized in as many ways as possible: you only get to be a high school senior once.