Their Last First Day
August 20, 2018 - Lovejoy High School was abuzz with excitement as Leopards strode into school for the first day of the 2018-19 school year. This day was earmarked with special pomp and circumstance for the seniors as they participated in the annual tradition of a senior breakfast and Senior Walk.
Evie McGowan, Student Council President, and Carson Collins, quarterback and team captain of the football team are both seniors and shared their thoughts on this momentous day, reflections of their years at Lovejoy High and advice to incoming freshman. McGowan and Collins have gone to school together since second grade at Hart Elementary.
McGowan looks at the Senior Walk as a rite of passage. She said, “Everyone before us has done it, and now we get to do it.” As far as anyone can remember, the Senior Walk has been done at Lovejoy High School. Collins said that on this day they will walk in together as seniors and on the final day of school they will complete the tradition by walking out together as seniors. McGowan said that participating in the Senior Walk as a senior makes the thought of graduation a little more real.
When Collins was a freshman watching Senior Walk, he said, “I didn’t think much about it. I felt like they (the seniors) were so old.” McGowan said she remembers looking at the senior cross country team members and thinking they looked so big and old. She felt like her senior year was so far away, she now knows the time goes by fast.
Now that they are the seniors and the ones who did the walk, they feel a bit differently. McGowan said, “As a freshman I thought I was ready to go to college. I’m happy to have this year to hang with my friends, run with my team (she’s a member of the cross country team) and the awesome things Student Council has planned for this year.” Collins said, “Enjoy every moment, it really goes by fast.”
Changes they feel they have gone through in the last three years include becoming more self-reliant, gaining maturity, getting a driver’s license and jobs, increasing their perspective and making new friends.
During her senior year, McGowan intends on taking in all the lasts the seniors will go through. She also wants to invest in relationships with her cross country team members before she leaves for college. She will work on college and scholarship applications as well as dual credit classes. Collins plans to enjoy his last season playing high school football and working towards earning a scholarship to play football in college. He will focus on getting the best grades he can in his dual credit classes.
They both advise freshman to realize the high school years go by fast and to get plugged in with a sport, or other group, who has like-minded people. McGowan is also Vice-President of the National Honor Society. In addition to his football team affiliation, Collins is a Senior Member of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council. McGowan adds that freshman should keep record of their service hours because they will need that information when applying for colleges. She also recommends being intentional about being respectful towards teachers and staff. Collins adds, “Stay on top of your assignments, it’s hard to catch up. Email your teachers if you are going to be absent to get the assignments.”
Chris Mayfield is beginning his fifth year as principal of Lovejoy High. His advice to the 347 seniors currently enrolled at LHS is, “Enjoy every minute. It goes by fast. Senior year is such a fun year.”
As the seniors entered the line of visibility, the parents lining the walkway entering Lovejoy High lifted their photo taking mechanisms in an emotional salute. These same Leopards, who three years ago thought the seniors they high-fived looked old, were now the ones appearing long in the tooth.