Head to Head: Senior Month From the Senior Perspective — Pro Senior Month

Parker has worked on creating the Senior Month concept for two years and the opportunities it provides are infinite and expanding. It is rare that a student gets to write their own curriculum for a month, and although COVID-19 has impacted us and internships won’t happen, there is still a great chance for students to explore a passion or hobby in a low-stress environment. Because of this, I believe that Senior Month should happen in May for the class of 2021.

I have had a plan for Senior Month since it was first presented: a private pilot’s license. I’m also not the only student with a plan for Senior Month. Many students have contacted me privately expressing their support for Senior Month and their unique projects and ideas for Senior Month. There are plenty of examples of ways to use Senior Month as a way to learn a life skill and/or explore a hobby. While it was seen as a joke in plenary, senior Sam Meiselman-Ashen noted that he could eat pizza for a month, and could learn about the art of pizza making as a Senior Month project. Sounds pretty good to me.

Senior Month also provides an educational opportunity for students. While classes are still held and seniors have to go to class, “senioritis” is in full effect. Most seniors have made the decision for where they are going to college and students have begun to stop caring about high school as they look forward to their college, education. Senior Month provides a chance for students to continue to learn in May and gain educational value from their projects. My opposition argues that they do not want Senior Month to happen because they want to be with their friends in school. In my opinion, the school wouldn’t consider this argument as valid and would think that students want to be in the school for the social value rather than the educational.

From a teacher’s point of view, they don’t like seniors and senioritis. As I heard in my graderoom from a teacher, “You guys have already been admitted to school and don’t care about high school anymore.” This teacher said that students complained about having to do homework and continue their classes, that they were not engaged and/or interested in high school anymore. Senior Month combats this, letting the seniors choose their topics and assign their own homework, even if that means no homework.

In addition to the opportunity to focus individually on a project, Senior Month has a social value for seniors as well. Students that want to see their friends and socialize during May can do so in a four-person group with the same project, or they can circumvent the system to have multiple four-person groups all interested in the same subject. The social value of being in school can be replicated during senior month, as students still have the opportunity to socialize, especially when there are fewer hours of work in a week of Senior Month versus regular school.

During plenary, I was told to pursue my passion outside of school, on weekends, or during breaks. This quite simply is not viable for many students. We all have tons of commitments and activities. Senior Month provides an opportunity for students to pursue a passion that they previously were not able to with the stress of school. With Senior Month, students can continue to participate in sports, clubs, and Student Government.

The idea of in-person school has been skewed by our imaginations. In reality, the high school returning to campus means a hybrid system that is able to accommodate K-12 with social distancing protocols in effect. This means no bench, no alcove, no cat boxes, and most importantly, no fourth-floor chairs. Students will be kept in groups and not permitted to socialize with other groups of students. If a group of friends were to do senior month they could also pick the topic, something that they would find more enjoyable than regular classes. The social aspect that so many students wish for in the spring won’t be a reality. 

Finally, I want to clarify the comments I made in plenary so many weeks ago. The value of Senior Month and what I hope to learn outweighs spending more time with friends that I have known for over 10 years and will continue to socialize with throughout my life. Many interpreted my words as me saying that I will not stay friends with anyone from high school, but this is not the truth. I have many lifelong friends at Parker, but there is an opportunity presented in Senior Month, a chance to go to college with a new skill, understanding, or hobby. Taking a month to walk in one-way halls, wear a mask all day, and have all of my movements tracked doesn’t appeal to me as much as taking a month to pursue a lifelong dream, alone or with friends.

Senior Month from Senior Perspective: Yay or Nay?

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