The senior based student section at the UNI dome in Cedar Falls on Aug. 30. (Frank Miller )
The senior based student section at the UNI dome in Cedar Falls on Aug. 30.

Frank Miller

Building Inclusivity: Seniors Becoming a Collective

October 25, 2019

We all know it’s coming. The end of an era, of everything we’ve known for 18 years of life. 

The last year of high school. The last year of childhood. Where the people you’ve known: the people who have defined you, simply become memories and photographs of all the crazy stories that you tell your kids someday. 

Ames high seniors at the front of the student section at the first home game against Fort Dodge on Sept. 6. Photo by Frank Miller.

Of those people and memories that have defined you, there’s everyone you’ve known, your elementary school best friends and everyone that has made an impact on your life everyday. 

Out of the people that represent Ames high, the glimpses of 1,500 faces you see in the halls, around 350 of those people are in your grade. That’s about 350 people who’ve experienced the same timeline as you. Some of which you’ve never talked to or seen before but are in the same phase of life, or for seniors, your final phase together. Cluelessly determined as you are, they’re beating along the path with you, unsure of what the next moments of the future will hold. While finally entering the dreaded “real world” as the face of the future and leaving life as we know it.

However, having such a large variety of wonderful, diverse people that Ames high has to offer: different friend groups with alternate interests arise. We don’t think it’s as cliche as the movies, but what if it lowkey is? The stereotypical groups of popular people, the wanna-bes, the athletes, the nerds, the outcasts, and the basketcases. It may not be as cheesy as The Breakfast club, but it’s still relevant in our time here at Ames high. 

Cliques are formed and people remain in them, stuck and stubborn, never reaching out to become close to the new and exciting people you come across. Continuing to stay within the boundaries and guidelines of the comfort zone you unknowingly set for yourself. The boundaries of who you say you are. 

Come on, we’re all asking the question, what if it was different? What if everyone branched out and could free themselves from the stereotypes that they were boxed into? A group of seniors challenged this very thought by attempting the impossible: making the senior class seem more like a whole. 

This safe, sacred place in the senior class where you’re “able to sit next to anyone and feel welcomed,” is “something we want to encourage to make as much progress as we can together as a grade,” said a senior. 

Determined as ever, they’ve planned various events during the school year to try and help bring the grade closer. The senior sunrise on the first day of school was an idea that was stemmed off a video from another high school with a similar desire. The message of starting off the year together with the viewing of a sunrise to symbol the beginning, was very important to the seniors as a class. Even without the view of a pretty sunrise that morning, people still came, showing support for the effort of combining more friend groups to make a whole. Various fun events including seasonal activities such as a senior dog walk and senior sledding are hoped to be fun activities the class can do together during this year. 

The creation of these activities was intended to help people come together and prevent people from being left out. As a senior said,

Going to big group things with our grade felt separated and not that fun. A lot of people were left out and feeling that way is just something no one should feel, especially leaving our last year of high school together.”

And by creating these fun activities that the grade can participate in together, they hope to end the stigma behind our grade’s cliques. To live together, side by side with the few moments we have left. 

The seniors plan to end the year by watching the sunset on the last day of school. They hope by this point it will be a little less awkward and more collective. By doing this, they want to show that from the beginning to the end, everyone has been together through it all. And while leaving your childhood behind, they hope that the senior class learns to be a little more open and accepting to help the rest of their lives.

Frankly, it sounds like a dream. The envisioned end goal gives a cheesy image of a group of people, singing kumbaya around a fire, with everyone holding hands and being friends. But it’s not really about that for the seniors involved. It’s about coming together to make something, something bigger than seniors as individuals and the small things the senior class is doing. It’s about walking off the graduation stage without any regrets. And finally, ending this phase of life together as a whole and being proud of the people we’ve become together. 

 

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