Sunrise on a new senior tradition

Leadership class adapts activities and students create their own in order to make senior year memorable

Because+students+couldn%27t+meet+face-to-face+on+campus%2C+seniors+organized+their+own+Senior+Sunrise+at+Cook+Park.+The+event+didn%27t+go+off+without+a+hitch.+The+smoke+from+wildfires+covered+the+sun+and+even+made+visibility+across+the+parking+lot+a+difficulty.+

Courtesy of Noah Hofmann

Because students couldn’t meet face-to-face on campus, seniors organized their own Senior Sunrise at Cook Park. The event didn’t go off without a hitch. The smoke from wildfires covered the sun and even made visibility across the parking lot a difficulty.

By Madison Boehringher, staff writer

     Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the leadership class was unable to hold a traditional Senior Sunrise. 

     In the past years, seniors would wake up early the morning of the first day and watch the sunrise while sitting all together on the football field in excitement for the very memorable senior year coming ahead. This is a tradition that has been done for years, and one that many current seniors were looking forward to. 

     Usually the senior class officers organize the event. “Leadership has looked very different this year in that we’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” senior class representative Marilla Stubblefield said. “We weren’t able to plan a Senior Sunrise, so we filmed the sunrise and made a video to introduce ourselves so that students know who to reach out to whenever they need anything.” 

     However, senior Noah Hofmann had an idea of his own. 

     “I chose to plan a Senior Sunrise with my friends because we found out we weren’t going to have one,” said Hofmann. Hofmann’s sunrise event took place on Sept. 13 at the Cook Park soccer field. 

     “We stayed COVID safe by wearing masks and not getting close to each other except for taking photos together,” Hofmann said. “The best part was seeing everyone who showed up.” Seniors Kacie Horne, Zoe Floyd and Paige Colligan also played a role in helping plan the event and creating the announcement. 

     The wildfires blazing throughout Oregon also posed as a struggle for the senior sunrise. The sky was coated with thick smoke, making the sunrise harder to see. “I learned that not everything can go according to plan, because we had all the smoke from fires going on right at the same time.” Hofmann said.

      District rules around the coronavirus pandemic have made it difficult for student leaders and seniors to carry out normal traditions. Because students cannot be face-to-face, communication about events has also been more difficult for leadership members. 

     This has encouraged students such as Hofmann and many others to plan their own unofficial events such as a senior sunrise. While the official homecoming week with dress up days and a “court” occurred last week during virtual school, students could not plan an official dance. So some students are creating their own ways to celebrate, or a “foco” (fake homecoming). 

     “This barrier is a big reason we’re making such a push this year to get student feedback and opinions,” Stubblefield said. 

     Despite the constraints caused by the pandemic, student leaders and faculty are working on ways to make senior year a memorable one for the class of 2021. 

     Leadership advisor Jesse Abell described the situation. “We are still just starting to come up with plans, but in short, we are going to try to continue as many traditions as we possibly can! We are also looking for new, fun things to do to make people look forward to ‘going to school’,” Abell said.

     With health concerns in mind, the Leadership class is working on several events. 

     “My committee plans to still do many of the annual community service events such as the canned food drive to help make the year feel as normal as possible,” Stubblefield said. The Leadership class is also planning on selling spirit gear, honoring veterans in the community, as well as finding other ways to connect the entire student body. 

     While seniors may feel discouraged about missed events and traditions, there are still plans in the works to make this year as special as possible. 

     “We are going to miss out on some traditions this year — there’s no way around it,” Abell said. But the entire Leadership crew is working hard to modify those traditions or create new ones to make this year the best it can be.”