Head-To-Head: Should We Implement Senior Month?

The New Proposal Takes Away From Seniors

“Senior Month.” Instead of seniors taking classes as usual for the last month of school, the last three weeks in May will be a chance for seniors to take on internships or personal projects. Although the idea of something new and off-campus is exciting for students, Senior Month is not compatible with Parker’s semester system.

Senior Month disrupts scheduling and classes for seniors. Semester-long classes that are senior-only must be altered to fit the seniors’ schedules. Senior Month will disrupt classes that have had the same curriculum for years, causing the students to miss out on the full course experience.

Some seniors take certain required classes senior year, such as a physics course and a language course. They may choose to take these classes senior year to lighten up their junior year schedule. If a senior were in a physics class with mostly juniors, they would miss the last month of the curriculum. For students interested in physics, losing class- time would be an upsetting loss. Also, if they plan on taking physics in college, they may lack the necessary material.

Because of the few required courses for seniors, the students tend to sign up for courses that interest them, many of which are difficult to get into unless you’re a senior. Seniors will miss out on a month of these courses that they may have waited years to take. For example, I’ve always wanted to take some history and science electives but never have been able to fit them into my schedule or had high enough priority in the scheduling process. I am excited for my senior year, when I should finally be able to fully experience these electives, and Senior Month would interfere with my ability to do so.

I am excited for my senior year, when I should finally be able to fully experience these electives, and Senior Month would interfere with my ability to do so.”

Also, Senior Month negatively affects athletes. If a sports team succeeds and makes it far into May, students may have difficulty continuing their participation. Student-athletes still may be members of the team, but it will be extremely difficult for that student if they have to leave an internship early to make a game across the city or arrive at an internship late because of morning practices. Additionally, for businesses hiring interns, it may be hard to apply with the condition that each week the student is available for different hours.

Senior Month also impacts the non-academic Parker experience. I have attended Parker since JK and have seen and am excited for many of the senior traditions: the Senior Retreat, Ditch Day, College T-Shirt Day, Senior Prank Day, and more, all of which will have to be pushed up since seniors will not be in the building. These traditions may feel rushed, and won’t give students the full experience. Furthermore, in the last few weeks of school, only months before we will all be off to college, I personally will want to spend time at Parker with my friends before we graduate. It is important to savor your final moments at Parker with friends and peers you have had for years.

There are so many things that make Parker such a special place––traditions like MX and Big Brothers and Sisters––but also little things that students value in any high school, such as the close-knit communities in advisory or seeing friends and peers in the hallways. Missing out o n t h e s e special moments would be a huge loss for seniors. I want to be able to have and appreciate as many moments with my peers and friends as I can, knowing that those are the last few moments I will have left with them after 14 years by their sides.

It is important to open up students to the job world to prepare them for what comes after college and Senior Day offers that possibility, but three weeks at the end of the year when seniors are already losing focus will not be productive. If students have to find internships themselves, the program leaves room for inequality, with students with more connections to businesses benefitting, so students who lack these connections may not have as meaningful of an experience. Additionally, with seniors potentially all over the city, it may be hard to monitor their work and ensure that it is productive and meaningful. For people who live far away from Parker and have set routines for traveling to school, they may have to uproot their life and travel across the city and find new methods of transportation.

Those in favor of this plan offer it as a solution to “senioritis.” It is true that seniors lose focus at the end of the year, but the experience and benefits of being a senior at Parker far outweigh that consideration. In my opinion, it is worth it for a senior to be less focused in class if it means that they are savoring the last few moments with their friends and teachers before going off to college.

This year poses a unique scenario with COVID-19 pushing students out of school for weeks. Almost every senior I have spoken to is deeply disappointed that they are missing out on quality time with their friends, peers, and teachers. How is Senior Month any different? Yes, we will be able to spend time with one another outside of school, but we will be missing out on the key moments that make a high school experience so special. I want to be able to enjoy my senior year and savor the last few moments with those who have been at my side for years. I want to be able to say “hello” to friends in the halls, to attend Senate and Plenary, and to appreciate the last few weeks with my advisory. These small moments are so special and they will be taken away by Senior Month.