Senior class of 2018: Bringing the fun

Eva Berezovsky

More stories from Eva Berezovsky

Conversation with Faculty
December 21, 2018

From left to right: Thomas Washington ’18, Sara McClanahan ’18, Bjorn Holm ’18, Kyle Meredith ’18, Jackson Saunders ’18, Bennett Hawley ’18, Sam Shapiro ’18, and Emily Hykes ’18 lead cheers at the Play for Pink Wolfpack game against St. Croix Lutheran.

Students come in three breeds upon returning to school: there are those who exude optimism, those who count down the days until next summer before classes even begin, and those who battle to balance positivity and angst. Regardless of which attitude a student displays, the choice to attend school or to continue living the limitless lifestyle that is summer doesn’t really exist. In honor of the students who think they simply can’t overcome a pessimistic outlook on school, the 2017-18 school year, which implements a theme of good vibes and fun, could be different.

Twelfth-grade dean Shawn Reid is especially committed to instituting a school environment with a firm balance of fun and productivity. Referring to seniors specifically, he says, “I’m trying to remind them that this is actually a fun time and that you’re only a senior once in your life; sometimes it’s hard to see the forest [for] the trees.” He continues, “It’s easy to feel consumed by the senior speech or tutoring, but it’s okay to take deep breaths, step back and try to have fun. Everything’s gonna work out in the end.”

Reid believes that if the seniors consistently incorporate fun into what they do at school, that will in turn inspire and encourage the other grades to have fun as well. Reid adds, “The seniors really set the pace and set the tone of the school.” Essentially, “good v18bes” are contagious.

In Reid’s eyes, an ideal school environment is one where “students see their responsibilities as a student and take them seriously while still being able to laugh at themselves.” Additionally, he describes a community where “students are helping each other and you see students celebrating each other and working in concert with teachers where we’re all kind of pulling on the same rope.

Despite how blissful this environment sounds, it is unrealistic to achieve without taking action. Reid is working towards obtaining a fun atmosphere largely through prioritizing students’ voices. Regarding his role as grade dean, Reid says, “Senior year is theirs, so I want them to have a voice.” He feels as though a large aspect of being a good dean is really listening to students, having worked one-on-one with the 12th grade to plan the senior retreat, Legacy Day, and Homecoming.

Along with Reid’s initiative to actualize good vibes, several other parts of the school are encouraging the same within the building; the school now has a shout-out board near the front office where students can pin up an affirmative note about a peer, and assembly moderators are transforming the JNA into a space for lighthearted gatherings rather than monotonous announcements. Student Body President Sophie Skallerud ‘18 describes these seemingly-small changes as “an everyday reminder of what our days should feel like.” Early mornings and seemingly-infinite study sessions are certainly tedious, but there’s always room for fun. Study with friends or join a club that fuels your passion, providing something to look forward to during the school day.

Make the most of this year; as Reid says, “What is your motivation? If your motivation is one specific result, that’s not a great thing. But if your motivation is to do your best and be the best you can be, that’s beautiful.”