Seniors continue with recent tradition: the story behind the final days of high school

Anna Jensen and Olivia Miller

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ABC senior countdown begins for 2014-2015 school year Anna Jensen

The ABC countdown as well as the senior prank have been off to a slow start this year.

Senior Britton de la Chapelle made a Facebook page for the ABC countdown, which started on April 7, and posted the options for each letter in a multiple choice format in which people could vote. The option with the most votes was the one ultimately selected for the corresponding day of the final 26 days of senior attendance.

The polling system was only used for A-D, and then de la Chapelle posted a full schedule on April 7.

The choices posted on the Facebook page for day one, A, were Apocalypse Day, Awkward Day and Amber Alert Day. The choices caused some controversy among a few students.

“I didn’t even see Amber Alert posted by another student as an option, it just showed up,” said senior Bri Uriostegui. “That was by far the worst option.”

“I know there [were] some arguments about some of the ideas so far, and I want to apologize to the people that were offended,” said de la Chapelle.  “I’m only the one posting the ideas, not creating all of them. As a leader, I try to filter out the offensive ones.”

The ideas presented for each letter were not made up by de la Chapelle, according to him. He said that anyone could send in their ideas and then he would take into consideration whether they should be one of the three options.

“I take three ideas that I liked from everyone who posted about the letter, or [I take] ideas from my friends or anyone who comes and tells me their opinion and then I put them into a poll on the Facebook group,” said de la Chapelle. “It is up to everyone else to vote for which idea they like most.”

But some seniors feel like their voices are not being heard, nor are their ideas being taken into account.

“I think that there should be more options,” said Uriostegui. “Three options doesn’t give much choice, and [for me] so far, I have just been choosing the lesser evil.”

“Only the people who are considered ‘popular’ seem to have a say in [the countdown], and everyone has good ideas,” said Uriostegui. “I feel like [using] the Facebook group is a good way, but rather than be a class divided against itself, we should all be working together.”

“I believe everyone is a leader and has a say in the process,” said de la Chapelle. “I’m just the one who volunteered to post everything [on the Facebook page].”

Part of the reason the ABC countdown took so long to solidify is because the process began very late.

“North finished their countdown within the last few weeks, and we just made a list the night before the countdown started,” said senior Gianni Carvajal. “People won’t participate because of the sheer chaos and disorganization.”

The senior prank is even more disorganized than the countdown.

There is also a Facebook page for the prank, created by senior Max Loebman. The page blew up when it was first created, and a ton of seniors posted their ideas, but most of them got shot down and then the activity on the page died down.

“I made the senior prank page because I really wanted it to be take your pet to school day,” said Loebman. “I quickly realized [that] it’s impossible to [organize] an activity with over a hundred 17 and 18-year-olds.”

While there has been controversy over some of the letters for the ABC countdown, no one has been able to come to a consensus on anything regarding the prank.

“I feel like groups of people all want to do different things, so the best compromise is to have a week of pranks and on the last day do something extreme that no one knows about,” said de la Chapelle.

“The prank ideas [are not] clever, nor are they appropriate,” said Carvajal. “They would most likely get a lot of seniors in trouble.”

The lack of communication has caused a majority of the problems.

“There’s definitely a battle of egos,” said Loebman. “I think it’s natural and almost instinctive for people to come up with an idea. Everyone thinks their idea is the best, but I don’t think things will work out well unless everyone works together for one common good instead of everyone working for themselves. Most of us won’t see each other at all next year, and I just want us all to be cool with one another for the last couple months we’re here.”

Even though the countdown and prank may not be going according to plan, people are still making sure that they are having a good time.

“I absolutely love the idea of the countdown itself, and I am participating regardless, because it’s senior year and it’s a great tradition,” said Carvajal.

Senior pranks leave little laughter, must be carefully considered Olivia Miller

The senior countdown ia a recent establishment, and the senior prank is a valued tradition. Many GCHS seniors enjoy planning and participating in both events. However, many of the pranks end up simply being inappropriate and mean-spirited rather than funny and respectful to the school and its property.

“I think the biggest problem that we see now and that has changed since I was a senior is that some of the [ideas] can be disrespectful,” said life fitness teacher Bethany Russ.

According to GCHS alumni and substitute teacher Grant Chapman, senior pranks should be a way for the class to come together and bond by being respectful of each other’s ideas.

“Senior pranks are a way to have that last community bonding between all groups,” said Chapman. “It doesn’t matter what clique you’re in or who your friends are.”

Students should strive to have fun while simultaneously providing a positive memory for administration and teachers of the graduating class.

“It’s cool when an administrative person thinks fondly upon your senior prank or the ABC countdown,” said Chapman. “Students should have administration and teachers on board and have them participate if they are willing, because it is also the teachers’ farewell to the students.”

There is a difference between pranks that students and faculty can enjoy, and pranks that simply hurt the school’s property.

“With the mustard and the ketchup in the band room, [students] took that too far,” said band instructor Dom Bertino. “It cost approximately $1,500 to fix everything, [which] included uniform cleaning and drum head replacement.”

That is not to say that every prank that has taken place at the school has been offensive and disrespectful.

“One time I was subbing in a Spanish class and a student decided to get me to sign a Valentine’s Day card,” said Russ.  “I did not realize that everyone else’s name was in pencil and mine was in pen, so he erased everyone’s name and he put it on [former English teacher Austin] Scott’s desk so it was a valentine from me to Mr. Scott. That was pretty good and really funny. I don’t mind funny pranks as long as there is no harm done.”

Students need to ensure that they are not harming people or property when they plan their prank and the ABC countdown as well.

“The pranks cross the line when somebody is getting hurt, damage is being done to somebody’s property, or learning is disrupted in a significant way,” said English teacher Tom Hamilton.

Senior year should be a time where students from all different cliques and social groups can come together to commemorate their time here at GCHS.

“I liked the camaraderie that comes about in senior year,” said social studies teacher Adrijana Bisevac. “I think by the time you are a senior, a lot of the drama that happens in the younger years gets forgotten because you are thinking about college and you are realizing this is the last time you are all going to be together with all of these people.”

The ABC countdown does give students an opportunity to relax before the year ends.

“The best part would definitely be the fact that it is so stress relieving,” said senior Yazmin Lomas. “It allows you to forget about the AP tests, finals, college and everything that comes with becoming an adult. It gives you a reason to be a kid and enjoy the last bit of high school to its fullest potential.”

Students just need to acknowledge the line between funny and harmful, and take that into consideration as they plan their senior traditions.

“You should have fun with it, but you should also realize that you are still a student in high school,” said Russ.

Students do enjoy the chance to dress up and have some fun as the year comes to a close.

“It gives you motivation to endure the end of the year and finish it with a bang,” said Lomas. “Without the countdown, the thrill of graduating would not be the same because the excitement would not build as we anticipate the last day.”

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Seniors continue with recent tradition: the story behind the final days of high school