The seniors have commenced on the final leg of their journey towards graduation. Last week they gathered on the SS Rotterdam for their senior group picture. When there are only 12 graduates you can do things like that. Just before departing, in their caps and gowns, for the photo shoot on the ship, two representatives appeared in our staff meeting to announce the senior class gift, a long-held tradition at our school. The seniors, each year, select a gift to give to the school by which they will be remembered. Past gifts have included a large clock engraved with “For all the Good Times” in the entryway of the school and a tree planted in the playground.
On this day, two young representatives stand before us, flushed with excitement and glowing with pride. With animated gesticulations they describe how they participated in the school’s garbage audit this year and that the audit experience prompted their senior gift. They proceed to describe the purpose and results of the audit.
An accounting of the plastic cups accumulated in just two days in the teacher’s lounge yields exclamations of shock and disbelief. For the staff of 70 (some of whom are part-time), it is a bit embarrassing to consider that the paper cups from the teachers’ lounge alone represented 1.5% of the entire waste of the school (including cafeteria, classroom, and science waste).
The seniors then announce that their senior gift would be to build a mug wall in the teachers' lounge, eliminating the use of plastic cups. They are planning a “mug drive” to load the wall with donated mugs (rather than increase carbon footprint by purchasing new mugs). Their gift, as it turns out, additionally includes an act of service. Nods of approval and smiles of encouragement are seen sweeping across our group of teachers. Clearly, this is a good idea.
With confidence and purpose our vibrant seniors depart through the library doors; their shiny, blue, freshly pressed graduation gowns flowing behind.
Moments like these make the teachers proud and leave evidence of how ready these young people are to go out and conquer the world.
What special senior gifts or traditions are common in your area, at your school or at the school your children attend?