Monumental senior events celebrate the class of 2022

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Photos by Ava Creech

Seniors dressed in cap and gown for the Senior Awards Assembly. This assembly presented students with awards to recognize their achievements and accomplishments.

The school year is coming to a close, but one thing weighs down the mind of seniors: graduation. As seniors everywhere are hastily preparing for the next phase of their lives, Athens Drive is giving students a chance to slow down and celebrate their last moments of childhood through events that celebrate the class of 2022.

“High school is an important part of every young person’s life and you have to make the most of it, and these events do just that!” said Christopher Remaley, senior class advisor.

One event, the Senior Awards Assembly on May 26, showcased the accomplishments of the class of 2022 through numerous scholarships and departmental awards. The class of 2022 had the highest number of scholarships for over five years, and a few hardworking students received thousands of dollars towards future endeavors. The Leadership Award given out by Principal Stephen Mares highlights the excellence of one senior each year. This year’s recipient was Ryan Markley, who among many other achievements addressed COVID-19 mental health concerns through her self-illustrated and authored children’s book.

“It was very humbling in a class of seniors who are so talented, inspirational, and have accomplished so much in a variety of different areas. I am very grateful to have been chosen…It meant so much,” said Markley.

An additional senior event, the Senior Picnic was held May 31 at the Peter Hines Williams Stadium with five dollar admissions. It was fully catered with countless activities and gave seniors an opportunity to celebrate the end of high school. 

“Our entire senior class has worked so hard to get to this point and we all deserve it… the Senior Picnic provides a fun time for seniors to get one last chance to hang out all together,” said O’Toole.

A lot of behind the scenes work goes into graduation events. Everyone wants their chance to be recognized, and teachers work hard to make sure every graduating senior feels included. Those who find themselves having to constantly correct others on their names shouldn’t have their big moment overshadowed by a wrong pronunciation, but with over 400 seniors, it can be difficult to get every name right. Teachers and administrators start the hard work months ahead to make sure everyone has their moment. Administrator Steven Katz compiled names onto one list after tracking down students and having them pronounce their names.

“If there [are] names I have to pronounce a certain way then I put them here so I kind of write out a little code to be able to pronounce it,” said Katz. “We want to make it a very special day and hopefully get the names right,”

Events that often go unspoken and are just as important are the final events of seniors in their extracurriculars and arts programs. Many students find an elective, club, or team and grow with it through high school. They build a community of creativity and togetherness that they can explore and celebrate with others, leaving that program can be a bittersweet experience.

We all come together as a team when it gets down to playing as a group, and being a part of that team has been such a joy, but leaving it will be very hard and I think both of those emotions will hit pretty hard at our last concert,”

— Ariana Paulik, senior in orchestra

These landmark events were seen by many as a pivotal point in their high school journey. The events enabled seniors to appreciate the memories that high school has given them and helped to provide closure on the soon end of senior year.

“I feel like it is a time that we can come together as a class, learn about and celebrate one another’s hard work and accomplishments of the past four years, and reflect before walking across the stage one final time at graduation. I think students need that,” said Markley.

Above all, many Athens Drive seniors can say they will most miss the inclusive environment of Athens Drive, and the friends and teachers they will leave behind.

“Athens has a way of unifying everyone under one student body. While we all come from different backgrounds and are involved in different things, everyone is always accepted in the school no matter what,” said Paulik. “I think that’s what I’m going to miss, always being able to be part of something while being welcomed in the Athens family.”