Striving for a Smoother Transition

SENIOR EMILY SATINSKY AND JUNIOR MICHELLE LI

Juniors and seniors react to the changes in senior privileges for next year.

The excitement of becoming a senior is undeniable. The white blazers and the senior ring symbolize for many Hockaday girls the beginning of the end of a long and tiring journey. This year’s transition from juniors to seniors, however, will be less dramatic than in years past.

In the past, a Hockaday junior officially becomes a senior at Ring Day ceremony, earning her senior privileges for the remainder of the year. Due to the scheduling of senior projects, the newly anointed seniors were allowed to exercise their newfound privileges without the presence of the current seniors.

According to Head of Upper School John Ashton, the change “stems from thinking about how we can best put in place rituals that move forms to the next level.”  It is important to be mindful of the current seniors and eliminate any chance that they feel done with or insignificant. That being said it is also imperative that all the Forms understand that this change is not meant as a punishment or a response to any action.

What this means for the Class of ‘12 and classes to follow is that juniors will not become seniors until the current seniors graduate. This differs from past years in that Ring Day will no longer mark the moment a junior transforms into a senior, but rather serve as one step closer on the road to becoming a senior. A gradual transition means for the most part giving the current seniors the respect they deserve until their graduation by prolonging the juniors’ ascension to senior status.

Ashton says, “Ring Day holds the same significance” it always has. The only change is that senior privileges will be granted not in the spring but in the fall. While this change does not seem to be extreme, it does arouse mixed feelings from the junior class.

Junior Sheriden, a lifer and third generation student at Hockaday, admits that while “I understand” why the transition is being put in place, “[I’ve] been here for 13 years and have waited to get my ring since I was four.”

Junior Elli has a stronger view, “the gradual transition is unnecessary.”

Both girls agree that since “the seniors are gone for the last week and a half, parking in senior parking and going off campus during lunch should not be an issue.” For Elli, Ring Day has been played up by the school to “[symbolize] juniors becoming seniors.” As far as traditions go, Elli believes that Ring Day is a “tradition that should not change.”

However, others disagree and believe that the gradual transition is a good thing. Junior Allie believes that the gradual transition will “relieve the awkward tension” between the two upperclassmen grades.

Allie makes it clear that, “seniors are seniors until they graduate and everyone should respect that.”

While Allie agrees with Elli that “some of the privileges” when the seniors are away for project week “should be allowed,” she is adamant that “summer is a long enough transition for the juniors to become seniors and taking away the seniors last big moment seems wrong.”

The junior responses are mixed. But what about the seniors’ opinions?

Senior Barbara does not think “it really matters if juniors get off campus privileges during transition week, as long as they respect the seniors” when they return.

While some seniors may be indifferent on the matter, others, like senior Megan, believe that this transition “in theory sounds like a good idea.” Megan believes that it is “difficult to have two grades that feel” that they have “earned leadership in the school.”

Senior Jenny admits that the gradual transition is a great idea because it “avoids a conflict between the two grades.” Jenny knows that, while the juniors will be upset about the change because “Ring Day is a great rite of passage for juniors,” the transition is “a good decision.”

Jenny’s reasons, however, are quite personal; after the drama of last year’s transition, Jenny wishes that her privileges had “been taken away” so as to preserve the relationship between the graduating class and her own.

“That was a sad way to end the year,” remarks Jenny. Despite any conflicting opinions, the seniors all saw eye to eye on one issue in particular: the reason for this change is probably due to the tension caused by last year’s transition.

While the response to the decision might be mixed, the administration is sure it is the best step forward for the future of Upper Schoolers. Hopefully, this transition can say goodbye to the seniors with all the respect they deserve while gracefully moving juniors to senior status with all the pomp and circumstance that they too have earned.

—Claire