Senior bucket list

Over years of high school graduating classes, it’s natural for students to develop their own traditions for completing all four years. Some senior customs have been spread nationwide and have created a common senior checklist for students during their last year.

Senior, Carson Dennis ‘17, described some popular traditions that seniors may partake in, including Prom, wearing their college shirt on decision day, going up in the tower, long dresses at prom and sitting in the front bleachers at football games. She reveals that these may be considered “unwritten traditions” for South.

Underclassmen, Lanie Maynard ‘19, has chosen to not partake in said activities. According to Maynard, she believes that the special traditions should be left to the seniors and that underclassmen should respect that.

“I think that everybody has something to look forward to and certain traditions should be left to the seniors because that’s what you wait all four years for” Maynard said. “It’s certain senior traditions that nobody else should be able to have. Seniors should feel special. Others will have their own senior year.””

Because of her ideals, Maynard decided to leave these traditions to seniors, and wait until she is in the graduating grade to complete these “special” activities.


Prom, a dance created for and by the senior class, is a common activity for the graduating grade to attend. Underclassmen may also come as long as they’re accompanied by a senior date. Senior, Katy Shrader ‘17, elaborated that a common tradition is leaving long dresses for the seniors and for underclassmen to wear short dresses. Though, she also revealed that she personally would not take offense if underclassmen disregard the unwritten tradition.

“It’s just kind of respectful, it’s kind of a senior thing” Shrader said. “I think it’s kind of respectful to (wear a short dress as an underclassmen) and respect that the seniors have waited for their chance to wear it. But I wouldn’t be offended if someone wore a long dress.”

Senior, Lucy Loch ‘17, agrees with Shrader. She, too, would not mind a non-senior wearing a long dress to the dance, though believes it’s odd if they do.

“I don’t know if it’s a written rule, like underclassmen have to wear short dresses” Loch said. “I do think it’s a little strange if they wear long dresses. But personally, again, it’s prom, it’s not going to ruin my night.”

Another problem may be an underclassmen wearing the same dress as a senior. Though, over the years, students have developed a solution to avoid the common issue. In this way, seniors who disregard the short-dress “rule” don’t have to worry about stealing a senior’s thunder on their Prom night.

“There is the prom facebook group so you can post your photo (of your gown), That’s why some underclassmen are on it, so they don’t wear the same dress,” Dennis said.

Seniors celebrating their last homecoming game.


Another tradition for seniors is to sit in the front of the student section at football games. Underclassmen generally leave the front few rows to seniors, though there is not enough room on those benches for all the classes’ members to fit.

Dennis disclosed her idea of all classes being apart of the cheering group so the whole division would not have to be as senior-exclusive. Though, she believes that the front should still be left for seniors.

“I like that seniors get the front row but I also think the student section should be extended (to) a bigger student section” Dennis said. “That way other students can get involved and be there. And I’m okay with underclassmen being there, but seniors, obviously, get the front. But, it should be more inclusive.”

According to Loch, another tradition is wearing one’s college shirt on decision day, May 1st. This day was given it’s name due to the necessity for students to commit to their college of choice by this day. Therefore, all seniors would have chosen their next school for their future by this date.

At South, seniors often wear a shirt with their college logo to celebrate their commitment and share their specific, coming milestone with their classmates. Dennis revealed her opinion about underclassmen wearing college shirts on that day, describing it as “weird”.

“I think it’s a little weird, especially if it’s the same college because we’ve earned it, we’ve been accepted, and it’s where we are going” Dennis said. “Just that day. Any other day you can wear a college shirt.”

Another tradition, exclusive to South, is to pay a visit to the school’s Tower in the main building. Being a 90 year old school landmark, it’s a common place for students to visit prior to graduation.

Loch explained that not every South senior has the opportunity to visit this specific place.

Photo by Emma Russell ’17
Students up in the tower.

“Certain groups get to do it: Tower, student council, SA” said Loch. “It’s only special groups.”

Though students who aren’t involved in a tower-viewing club, like Shrader, would appreciate the opportunity of viewing it before leaving South.

“I haven’t gone up in the tower…I  think they should (expand it that so that all seniors can go) because I know a lot of my friends aren’t involved in clubs since they don’t have a lot of time for extracurriculars with their academics” Shrader said. “And I know all of us are interested in going up there and seeing what it was.”

Though all three seniors, Shrader, Dennis, and Loch, agree that these senior activities do not make a high school experience, but rather enhance it.

“I think (the traditions) are just kind of something fun for seniors to do but I don’t think anybody would be missing out by not doing any of these things” said Shrader. “I think it’s just what you make of it. I’ve had a great high school year, I haven’t done some of the things that you’ve said. I’ve mostly just surrounded myself with great friends and nice people. I wouldn’t say my high school (experience) has not been fulfilled by not doing all the ‘traditions.’”

Dennis agrees, and also believes that because of personality differentiation, it’s difficult to create a single “senior checklist” that would apply to all students.

“Each person is different and their high school career is between what classes they take, what clubs they’re involved in and everything like that is different from person to person” Dennis said. “So it’s kind of hard to make one (senior tradition) checklist for what you should get done by the end of the year because the importance of the event to different from person to person.”

As for leaving the traditions, and which one’s they choose to complete, up to the seniors, Maynard decided to respect the events and leave it to the graduation class. She concludes that she will enjoy those special senior activities only when she is a senior and will encourage others to follow her thinking.

“I think it’s just the unspoken rule that everybody will have their time and it’s a thing of respect and knowing that you time will come” Maynard said. “I think that everybody should just kind of back off and let things happen as they do… (When I’m a senior) I’m going to be in the front row of the student section, wear a long prom dress, own it and enjoy it because it will be my time.”