Rachel Tievy

Students perch atop their cars during the Senior Sunrise.

Class of 2020 establish new tradition

As the sun rose over the baseball fields on Oct. 4, the Poolesville class of 2020 gathered on top of cars, in beds of trucks and trunks of minivans to take in the scene. Small groups of students were perched on their cars, wrapped in blankets with boxes of donuts and cups of coffee cradled in their laps. Seniors celebrated the excitement of starting their last school year, and Senior Sunrise gave students the opportunity to take in the sunrise with their class. 

High schools across Montgomery County have senior traditions like senior breakfasts, senior storm and senior snuggles. Senior Storm occurs shortly after graduation when the juniors run through the halls then leave school, officially taking the title of seniors, whereas Senior Snuggles involves students sitting in the halls of the school in pajamas. Poolesville’s whole school and senior class SGA came together to organize Senior Sunrise. While Poolesville does not have a lot of standing traditions for seniors, the senior class student government hopes that by planning a senior event this year, they can leave their mark on the Poolesville community and classes behind them who follow suit. 

Senior class Vice President Alaina Shields said, “We had seen schools like RM doing it, so we thought it would be fun especially with the water tower in the back.” 

Shields continued to explain that SGA was worried that students would not want to get up early and get to school before the sun rose, but they did not have much to lose in planning it. Whole school Vice President Julianna Hitchcock said that Senior Sunrise was fairly easy to plan, because once SGA got permission to hold the event, all they had to do was work with the senior class SGA to post reminders on the class’ social media accounts.  After seeing how the Richard Montgomery High School SGA planned their Senior Sunrise, Hitchcock said that the Poolesville seniors involved in whole school SGA thought that it would be a fun and easy idea. 

The parking lot was not very crowded when the sun began to rise, but there were small groups of seniors crowded around cars scattered throughout the parking lot. 

Senior Andrew Victory said, “There weren’t a lot of people in the parking lot, but we fit seven people on the roof of my car and ate animal crackers.”  

Victory explained that he and his friends spread out blankets on the top of his car then climbed through his sunroof to get on the roof. Students spent the morning taking pictures and laughing as the sky grew orange over the stadium. Senior Sunrise gave students the opportunity to celebrate being seniors and make more memories with their friends in their last year of high school. 

Montgomery County isn’t alone in planning senior events around the sun; high schools around the nation plan senior sunrises at the beginning of every school year, with some schools planning senior sunrises at the end of the year. Quartz Hill High School in Quartz Hill, California and A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas plan bookend their school years with a sunrise and sunset. Linking the sunrise to the beginning of the school year symbolizes the start of senior year, with the sunset at the end of the year closing out the school year and the entirety of student’s high school careers. Senior Sun events have given students the opportunity to recognize the significance of their last year of high school and celebrate the end of an era with their classmates.