Walking into the Pride Rock entrance of Linn Mar High School on the first day of school felt different this year. As the day progressed, a distinct feeling followed and it was not just the classic new and exciting feel that school was starting. Three days in, realization settled in and students realized that there was something missing and something added. The seniors had left and graduated to pursue their ambitions while 8th graders from Oak Ridge and Excelsior Middle Schools filtered in, learning to adjust to their brand new environment. The initial thought was that this change would only affect the exiting and incoming grades, but when this shifting up in grades happens, the process affects everyone. While seniors were the role models of last year, seniors this year must step up and set a good example for the lower grades. The sophomores this year, who were freshmen last year, are expected to help lost and confused freshman around the hallways. This feeling not only extends from the everyday atmosphere in the classroom, but it also affects members of sports, music groups and clubs where the leading positions were held predominantly by seniors. One of the noticeable differences is seen by Calvin Kanz, a senior who participates in orchestra.
The most talented section leaders left, requiring a shift of leadership and responsibility to the new seniors. Some very involved seniors left, causing a greater impact on the music community because of their previous commitment to their activities. For example, graduate Bryce Spencer was involved in show choir, band, choir, orchestra and the musical, so his absence impacts us all.
Cheryl Reuben, a junior involved in In Step show choir this year, says she has noticed a similar shift in responsibilities. Reuben is not yet a senior, however, so not as much responsibility falls on her compared to this year’s seniors.
“I know that the current seniors have to step up. In some ways though, I know that I, myself, need to step up when setting up and tearing down, things that underclassmen don’t have as much experience with,” said Reuben.
It was also hard saying goodbye to seniors who had a major impact on underclassmen. Bonds were made with the seniors and it was difficult for some to say their last goodbyes.
“It was sad,” Reubens said. “The seniors were the leaders and during our final performance, I would see people tearing up on stage because it was the last time we would be together before the seniors left.”
The music department is not the only area that has undergone a shift in responsibilities and had to deal with tearful goodbyes. There were also big changes when seniors left in activities like Poms. Junior Sarah Liang, a three-year Varsity Pom member, explains the impact of losing the seniors, along with the need for the veterans to take the lead to help the underclassmen.
“Well, obviously we miss them all, but it’s just part of the process. Our current seniors have been watching and learning from all of their past senior captains so they are more than ready to step into their shoes. For me, becoming an upperclassman this year is kind of like a transition year. The other juniors and I have enough past experience to help lead the team in some ways. You have more and more responsibility each year you’re on the team, but it’s mainly because of experience. Every group of seniors I’ve worked with have been very capable because of their 2-3 years of experience being on the team.
Linn-Mar students, whether they are involved in show choir, poms, tennis, football, orchestra or band, have experienced the impact of last year’s seniors leaving. The only thing the current underclassmen can do now, is acknowledge and enjoy this year’s seniors before they take off.