Seniors Share Class of 2023 Memories


Delaney Hill, 12, hypes up the class of 2023 during the pep assembly on Sept. 23, 2022 (photo by T. Elliott).

The class of 2023 is experiencing an immaculate number of different feelings approaching the end of the year.  Many students are experiencing ‘senioritis’. Some students are trying to hold on to every last experience they can. Some are so ready to graduate, yet the second they arrive at the homecoming dance or experience their last pep assembly, they see the past 13 years of school flash before their eyes.

The Nostalgia of Elementary School

As May comes closer, many seniors are recollecting memories from kindergarten. Many students remember Mr. K’s PE classes from SHES where they participated in the giant parachute games, or students from PCES who remember their school getting hit by lightning overnight.

“It was the last day of fifth grade and [our] class had a huge field trip to Cosmic Jump. I remember waking up that morning…and that’s when I found out the school caught on fire…[The school] smelled like a bonfire, and I remember I was interviewed by the news and it was just a really surreal experience,” Daley Browning, 12, said. “I feel like it is such a vivid memory waking up and going into the school and seeing the destruction on the side of the building.”

At WCES, some could recollect memories of the “keyboarding lessons with the orange [keyboard] covers” as Everest Carr mentioned. Cade Johnson shared his memory “playing in the fifth grade kickball [tournament] put on by all the kids.” In elementary school, many find that students at that age aren’t afraid to be bold.

“My most significant memories from elementary school would be the talent show. We could do whatever we wanted without the fear of judgment from someone. I got to perform with some of my good friends to this day,” Olivia Gaa, 12, said.

Many students also experienced the fun parties thrown in elementary classrooms.

“One of my favorite memories was our big Christmas party. We decorated gingerbread houses, watched Polar Express, drank hot chocolate, and ended the day with a gingerbread man hunt,” Payton Hines, 12, said.

Nathan Cheney recollected memories of book fairs, and Lydia Colburn had many memories in Girl Scouts.

“I was in [Girl Scouts] from I think second grade to sixth grade, so that was a huge chunk of my childhood…I loved the community that was there because we all grew up together and everyone was really sweet,” Colburn said.

Coming of Age

Moving into middle school, many seniors experienced being in a separate intermediate school for sixth grade and moving to the south middle school building where they eventually experienced eighth grade promotion. Middle school is where they experienced more independence, leading students to finding their sense of self. 

“When SADD came to the middle school and brought the smoking and drunk driving presentation, that made me want to be a part of SADD,” Jadyn Rainforth, 12, said. “Another memory is when our school got to take a field trip to the high school and watch the performance of Honk.”

Once reaching high school, some found that their classes led them to their passions, like Sara Rowland who found her passions in teaching through the high school’s teaching internship, or Roman Cusumano who had an experience himself.

“[I plan on] having a career in either computer science or architecture having a degree in either of the fields…My passion for drawing [and] design, math, history, and sciences have all influenced me to be where I am currently,” Cusumano said.

Significantly, students saw a massive change in the surrounding world as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived late freshman year. Class of 2023 was the last class to experience bronco hour; it was also the last to experience the high school before the pandemic.

But despite COVID-19, many seniors still know what their future holds and are still working hard for those pursuits.

High School is Almost Over, What Now?

Many seniors have completely different looks on their futures than they did as a child, like Alejandra Infante who went from wanting to be an astronaut to now looking forward to being a traveling nurse, or Trevor Cecini who went from wanting to be a teacher to now being Washington D.C.-bound in hopes of making a difference in the world.

“[The] younger me foreshadowed the person I am now. The way I thought, and the characteristics I had then remain generally the same, while things like maturity and age have molded me into who I am,” Cecini said.

Ruby Dickie had a similar situation going from wishing to be a veterinarian to now having a plan of entering the makeup industry doing pottery on the side. Samuel Oursler now wants to be in his own band pursuing his guitar talents after originally wanting to be a NASCAR driver.

“The progress of elementary [and] middle school has led me to where I am now, because high school gives more opportunity to figure out where you want to be in life and what you want to do with the variety of class options,” Gaa said. “This process has helped me with my after high school plans because I will be attending the University of Arkansas and will hope to land a career in the healthcare field.”