This year’s seniors have spent almost half of high school online, and, as a result, many say that class pride and unity among the class of 2022 have taken a hit.
So, on Monday, November 8, the senior leadership team and John Villavicencio, the Berkeley High School (BHS) director of activities, organized a senior sunrise and spell out to help create class unity.
Around 250 members of the senior class gathered at Inspiration Point in Tilden Regional Park to watch the sunrise. Students arrived by bike and carpool.
They drank coffee and ate donuts, before making their way back to school to have a spell out, forming a number 22 on the football field. Phil Halpern, the video production teacher, took an aerial photo using a drone.
“The class is kind of broken up into groups and, while we are content with them, this event helped us unify, which was nice,” said Ko Wiedlin, the senior class vice president. He said that the group that came was diverse and, for some of them, it was their first time seeing each other with masks off.
BHS senior and chief of publicity Adam Wilan echoed this sentiment. He said that the event helped generate some cohesion that the class didn’t previously have because of the time spent in distance-learning.
“Because of the pandemic, we don’t remember how fun things can be,” Wilan said.
The senior class leadership team planned the event, picking up 7.5 gallons of coffee from Peet’s and 240 donuts. By the end of the morning, they had run out of both.
“Senior sunrise is a tradition that has been going for a really long time,” Wiedlin said. “It took about 4 to 5 weeks to plan.”
Since the administration and school have not yet sanctioned a Spirit Week or Rally Day this year, which seniors tend to enjoy, having a fun activity was crucial.
“Rally week is essential for senior morale,” Wilan said. “Now that it is cancelled, being a senior is a lot less exciting.”
Wiedlin said that he thinks the cancelation of Spirit Week was responsible for the high turn out. “Seniors were itching for a way to get together,” he said.
“Rally day as a senior is something you look forward to for four years,” said Lilliana Porter, another member of the senior class leadership team. “Rally day being canceled was really disappointing for a lot of us.”
Despite this, Wiedlin, Porter, and Wilan agreed that canceling Rally Day was the right decision for student safety.
“I wish I could say it wasn’t,” Porter said. “But, at the same time, I can see where admin is coming from, and, more than anything, I think student safety is a top priority.”
Both Porter and Wiedlin were hopeful that the administration will sanction a Rally Day during the spring semester, when there is less of a staff shortage and more time to hold student consent training sessions.