Roomy hallways, empty classes, and deserted parking lots. It’s not hard to notice what’s missing from Centennial: the Class of 2011.
When the graduating seniors left these halls a few weeks ago, things changed drastically. Not only did we say goodbye to some of our closest friends over the past few years, but we also bid farewell to many of the school’s most visible leaders. They were the captains of our sports teams, the presidents of our clubs and honor societies, and the editors of our publications. As veterans of such organizations, they know how things are supposed to run, they offer insight from past years and previous experiences, and they help new members and underclassmen adjust to the routine.
Seniors also had a crucial role in leading school spirit. As underclassmen and even when we were juniors, we consciously or subconsciously looked to the seniors for cues on how to react to school events. Did seniors approve of the new winter pep rally? Were they attending the upcoming Sadie Hawkins dance? Even a few years ago, when there were concerns about the rules for dancing at school dances, everyone looked to the seniors to see how they would react.
With the Class of 2011 moving on to college, the workforce, or the military, it seems that Centennial has suffered a tremendous loss of leadership. Inevitably, we will adapt. Others will step up and fill their shoes, and when 2012 rolls around, there will be a new set of seniors leading the school.
But who says we have to rely solely on the seniors to lead this school, especially at Centennial, where we are empowered from Day 1 to be involved? We have elections for club leadership positions that are open to all members, regardless of grade level. We have organizations such as the class board, which allows students to take charge of planning events such as Prom and the Junior Ring Ceremony, as well as various senior events, including Class Night, Senior Picnic, and Crab Feast. This year, the Student Government Association had a new freshmen class representative position, which gave freshmen another opportunity to be more involved in the school community.
As for school spirit, there has never been an age requirement for having pride in being a Centennial student. Underclassmen: don’t be timid about showing off school spirit! Who cares if you’ve been in the school for only a couple of years? You are just as much a part of the CHS community as juniors and seniors, so why not unleash the inner Eagle now?
And let’s not forget that the other, less obvious, ways of showing leadership. Being friendly to others, showing respect to teachers, and working hard, whether on the field or in the classroom, are all ways to be a role model and lead by example.
So my challenge to you, whether you are a freshman, sophomore, or recently promoted senior (a.k.a. the Class of 2012): be a leader of Centennial. Next year, welcome the incoming freshmen class with open arms (okay, maybe after some light-hearted heckling first). Participate in class discussions and voice the ideas that you’ve always kept to yourself. Take the time to actually get to know the faces you pass in the halls. Step up and help organize the next event in your club. Scream your heart out at pep rallies. Be the first of your friends to say, “Yes, I am going to the dance.” Set the example that others want to follow. Become a “senior” of Centennial.