The Sun Rises Over Senior Year

Jaeden Sayers, Reporter

The Senior Sunrise is a tradition that Mountain View students look forward to from the time they are freshmen. The entire senior class gets together to watch the sunrise on the first day of Senior Year. This year, amidst the craziness of Mountain View’s plans to return to school remotely until at least October, seniors were questioning whether or not they would get to have this quintessential experience.

Student Council President and senior Braden Bomgaars and Vice President Zachary Rechkemmer knew that Mountain View could not plan this event due to the ban on in-person gatherings. So, they elicited the help of their fellow senior Taya Thom, to organize the event that so many students hold dear. “Zach and Braden had the idea that they wanted to plan a senior sunrise and asked me to organize it and create the senior group chat,” said Thom. She added, “I was excited about the Senior Sunrise because I wanted to see everyone.”

It was exciting “because it was the first actual school thing that we could participate in since March,” said Rechkemmer. Senior Ashlyn Trujilo had a similar opinion. She said, “The senior sunrise was the first time I had seen my classmates since March.” Senior Chloe Miller also agreed saying, “I was excited about the senior sunrise because it was an opportunity for all of us to get together before school started since we won’t be able to see each other every day due to online.”

Senior year is known for the memories that will last a lifetime. Thom said, “ I was looking forward to all the basic things [about a senior year] like football season, less classes, applying for college, just like finally being able to enjoy my final year of high school because I’ve been working so hard so that I could enjoy senior year.” With the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear whether or not Thom will be able to experience all of the elements of senior year she was looking forward to. However, intentionally or not, she is taking fewer classes this year due to the modified schedule.

Thom said, “My favorite part [of the senior sunrise] was seeing everybody in one place, and it gave me hope that just because we can’t do things through the school that we will be able to do things together as a class despite what’s going on.” The best part of the Senior Sunrise was “…seeing how many people came out for how short of notice it was and just seeing the senior class come together as one group was cool,” Rechkemmer agreed.

In the current senior class, there are 311 students; not every student is going to hang out with one another. But, Thom mentioned the senior group chat,  “After I made the senior group chat, I made a group chat with some of the senior girls who I haven’t really talked to throughout high school. That has been really great because we are planning on doing some things together and really keeping senior year alive. I don’t regret not talking sooner though because the timing is perfect so that we’re all at a spot where there is no drama, and we all just want to make the most out of our senior year.”

This was a common theme amongst the senior girls as Miller said her favorite part of the senior sunrise was, “taking pictures with all the girls and ‘cereal shots.’” Senior Calissa Gilbert provided the senior class with a gourmet breakfast of cold cereal and milk; it was unclear if there were going to be spoons and bowls. This led to some seniors pouring the cereal straight into their mouths, followed by the milk: the term “cereal shots” was coined by this experience.

“Events planned within the senior class help me cope, but I am still very angry [senior year got canceled]–as I should be,” says Thom. “I think that still being able to see others makes it easier to get through the online learning,” said Rechkemmer.

After the sunrise, seniors had to make it home for their first Google Meet, which started at 8:30 a.m. Rechkemmer said his first day of school was “uneventful” and that it “didn’t really even feel like school started.” Thom said that it was “disgusting and disheartening.” She added, “I hope no other senior class has to go through this. I don’t even feel like a senior.”

One theme remains constant throughout the senior class, waking up before sunrise is not going to be a new normal. Miller said that waking up before sunrise “absolutely did not” inspire her to wake up early this year. Rechkemmer said that waking up before senior sunrise had the “opposite effect” of inspiring him to wake up early this year. None were more adamant than Thom, though, when she said, “Waking up for the senior sunrise reminded me why I don’t wake up early.”