by: Trenton Szeto
It is June 6, the last day of school for seniors and all the other students already know what to expect. Freshmen have been properly warned by all their teachers and peers, while other classes are asked not to take part or disturb the seniors. Some teachers even let their students out early to avoid the huge rush. People trying to exit the school are advised to use the staircases on either side of the school and to avoid the second floor atrium at all costs to escape the traditional senior event – the senior celebration.
On this particular day, most of the seniors in the school leave class early in order to run to the second floor atrium, where they set up music, shoot silly string, and celebrate the end of their high school experiences. Music blares, the floor bounces, and Northside’s second floor atrium fills with yelling, dancing, crying seniors as they both celebrate and fondly remember the last four years they have spent in the school. This year was much of the same scene, with administration, security, and police officers surrounding the atrium and making sure the celebration carried on in a safe and controlled manner.
“Our main concern is always student safety,” Assistant Principal Jeff Finelli told HoofBeat. As a senior tradition at Northside, the administration plans for it ahead of time in order to ensure safety for all students, not just the seniors. Each year, the individuals involved in planning how to handle the event review the procedures and events of the previous year and work to plan for the next year’s event while also keeping in mind that it is a senior tradition. One of the issues focused on this year was ensuring that the celebration stays in the second floor atrium and does not spread to the rest of the school. When the celebration spreads, it can involve other students and pose other safety risks as seniors can go to areas with no supervision. Thus, security was placed around the perimeter of the atrium to prevent the group from growing too large and rowdy.
The planning committee also details a series of rules and guidelines to ensure that student safety is the priority of the event. Students are not allowed to get onto the shoulders of other students since that poses a risk not only to those students, but to surrounding students as well. Administration also keeps an eye out to make sure that all students are having a good time and to be ready to step in if a student gets injured or is crying, since safe fun is the priority. Adult supervisors use their best judgement when handling the event, such as picking up discarded spray cans that other students may trip on and injure themselves. This helps to make the event safe and fun for all to enjoy since, after all, it is and should be a happy celebration for all.