Senior tile painting is something to look up to, literally


Saniya Mishra

From left to right, DeLaina, Mrrudhula, Ella, and Rylie working on their ceiling tiles

Across four ceiling tiles, seniors Grant Griffioen, Julian Hayes, Liam Manders, and Michael Boughton painted a guy holding a massive orange, peeling it, and looking pleased as if ready to eat it. 

Michael had found the funny picture one day, printed it, and put it on his mini fridge. It became an inside joke among the four friends. And so, they decided to recreate it to leave behind at the school for others to see. 

“[When they see our tile],” Grant said, “the underclassmen are going to be like, ‘oh! There’s a guy peeling a big orange up there. I wonder who did that.’” 

The tiles decorate the hallway ceilings for other students to both look up to and look forward to. It’s a senior tradition that offers the graduating students to each leave some small legacy. 

On Feb. 8, seniors painted their own tiles, either in collaboration with others or on their own, allowing them to showcase their individuality and connection to the school. 

“It’s a fun way to express yourself and leave your mark on the school,” Grant said. “I’ve been looking forward to this all year. It’s a lot of fun.”

The picture Michael found and the group’s finished tile

About five years ago, the tradition began, and senior tile painting took place at the senior retreat. However, since it was difficult to transport the tiles, the event now happens at school. This year, it was one of the Winterfest Week activities. 

For the last couple of years, the school has also been collecting donations from seniors in exchange for tiles. These funds go towards certain projects such as the Veteran’s Wall or fundraisers the student body is currently raising money for.

History teacher and Student Council advisor Laura Stiles ordered the paint, tablecloths, and tiles for the event, working alongside business teacher Kristin O’Brien.

“I think [tile painting] started as a way to get more people involved and represent things they do and love [with their] friends,” Stiles said. “All kinds of tiles over the years show different things and how important this place is to people. I think it’s a way to let seniors commemorate their time at FHC, and it’s a neat way to decorate the halls. It would be cool to have everybody up there. Let’s see the whole senior class.”

There were 100 tiles ready to be painted, allowing many seniors to participate and commemorate a highlight from their high school experience that connected to themselves or their friends. 

The “beans in a bathtub” tile painting by Ella and Rylie (Saniya Mishra)

Seniors Ella Weichelt and Riley Scobey decided to partake in this too. They painted a tile together, featuring a bathtub full of beans because of a misheard lyric in choir.

One day, they had thought a certain song had said “beans in the bathtub.” 

From then on, it became an inside joke important to the two friends. 

“It symbolizes our friendship,” Riley said. “It’s very weird, very funny, and quirky.” 

Most of the tiles made were done either in groups, with friends working together on something important to them, or alongside friends, signifying the strong relationships the seniors have.

Like Grant’s group and Ella and Riley, seniors Mrrudhula Perumal DeLaina Billingsley painted a tile together which focused on their friendship. They recreated the two characters that they mainly use most often in the video games they play together: Jett from Valorant and Nami from League of Legends, respectively. With this idea in mind, Mrrudhula wanted to be a part of the senior tradition and the small memories left behind.

Jett from Valorant (left) and Nami from League of Legends (right) painted by Mrrudhula and DeLaina (Saniya Mishra)

“[The tiles] stay on the ceiling for the entire year,” Mrrudhula said, “and people look at it, and I think it’s really pretty how you can see the people from last year when they’re not here.”  

Not only does tile painting give seniors the chance to leave something behind, it also offers the class another opportunity to spend time together in the very cafeteria where they’ve eaten countless lunches.

Ella painted a tile to be a part of this, saying that it brings the class together more.

“[Tile painting is our] one last little hurrah,” Ella said.

Each senior can have their own little part of the school to call their own and for others to see. It’s a unique experience that many wait in excited anticipation for, including Grant and Mrrudhula. 

The tradition is part of many others exclusively for seniors, which makes it all the more important, adding finality to their high school experience.

“[Tile painting] is something that’s only for the seniors,” Mrrudhula said, “so you look forward to it when you’re younger, and now, you’re actually able to do it. It’s like, ‘oh my gosh—I’m actually a senior.’”