The Senior Recognition Ceremony is an honorable way to honor the graduating seniors


Emma Zawacki

Here is a picture of the seniors on the first day of their senior year, a memory they will all hold as they enter the last day of school.

Senior Recognition is a staple in senior year. It marks the end of an era for the seniors at FHC. Assistant principal Whitley Morse is thrilled at the chance to honor the graduating class despite differences in the ceremony over the past few years.

“Senior Recognition took on a new form during the COVID years—class of 2020 [had] everything, [like] Senior Recognition, fully virtual[with] online streaming,” Morse said. “[Last year,] we weren’t able to have all the adults and all the students in the same place at the same time, so we had a chance to change things up. So we moved it to the evening event, [but] it was just for last year because we are back to the school day this year.” 

Even though this ceremony has faced changes in recent years, Morse still hopes seniors are honored in a memorable way. Certain aspects have been added for this year and some parts from last year and the year before will also carry over.

“[Senior Recognition] really is a time to celebrate the seniors, to celebrate the different scholarships they have earned,” Morse said. “We do the departmental awards, we do student of the year, athlete of the year. [It’s just] a really fun way to honor our seniors. Last year, because we couldn’t all be together, we did come up with different ways to incorporate different student strengths into the ceremony, so we had different performances from some of our seniors and some of our underclassmen. We really wanted to turn it into the paired down version of the Oscars, but a little more interactive: we’re giving out awards, we brought in the mock elections from The Central Trend, we have students performing, some students led the mock election, and [it’s] just a little more interactive [than] the past.” 

Morse admits that although Senior Recognition can be thought of as less than riveting to some, it is important to honor the seniors and the work they put in the last four years. 

“I know Senior Recognition was not necessarily thought of, by the underclassman in particular, as the most exciting,” Morse said. “When I first joined the team here, it was very much they read through every scholarship anyone had ever received, which is awesome, but is also long and not the most exciting. So [we are] kind of moving away from that and still honoring the work that was done. That’s still brought into attention and is the focus in The Senior Edition for The Central Trend, but bringing in a way that will make it a little more fun and exciting” 

One part of Senior Recognition in the past was when seniors picked a junior buddy and used their lit candle to light the junior’s as a way to “pass on the torch.”  This year, the class presidents will perform this tradition rather than every single senior

“This year we will have the candlelight between the class presidents,” Morse said. “So, the senior class president to the junior class president. [It’s] a pared-down version of three hundred flames in a gym to just one.” 

Senior Kali Coppess is looking forward to the mock elections. 

“I’m excited to see the results from the mock elections,” Kali said. “I think it’s super fun to see who everyone [voted]. Also prom court. I’m really excited to see who’s on that.” 

Senior Recognition is more than a school event. It signifies the end of high school and a start of a new adventure. 

“It’s kind of crazy,” Kali said. “I’ve been here since kindergarten and realizing that with the recognition, we are starting a new chapter of our lives. It feels so comfortable to be at a school where you know everyone: you know the teachers, you know the younger kids, the older kids. And then to realize now you’re the oldest kid, and now you’re leaving and now you’re trying something different with different people, it’s really crazy.” 

Kali isn’t the only person sentimental over senior graduation. History and AP Seminar teacher Steve Labenz also enjoys the tradition. 

It’s kind of crazy, I’ve been here since kindergarten and realizing that with the recognition, we are starting a new chapter of our lives.

— Kali Coppess

“It really is [memorable] even if we aren’t going to be passing a torch,” Labenz said. “It really is the seniors making their way out into the next thing and the juniors stepping up and becoming the next leadership class, and yeah, I think it’s kind of nice to see that transition.” 

Labenz is always pleased to see past and current students and to get involved in the Senior Recognition will be one of the emcees. He also explained how the announcements will work this year. 

“I’m one of several [announcers]. So, it used to be all me, and then the counselors would do some of the scholarship awards,” Labenz said. “But now, we’ve really spread it out. It’s different teachers from different departments and counselors. Last year we had some kids do some [announcing as well], we had someone sing and some other stuff, which I personally think is better, it doesn’t need to be all me [talking].”

Senior Recognition is not an event to miss. It is honoring the hard work and dedication the seniors have put in the last four years and acknowledges the next chapter in their lives. Labenz hopes for the best for seniors.

“To the seniors,” Labenz said. “I would just hope that their future is everything they want it to be and that they can be successful and happy and healthy and do all that they want to do.”