Teachers Reflect on Having to Say Goodbye to Seniors

The end of the school year is approaching for the seniors, as their last day of class is Wednesday, May 21. That day, they will be leaving behind not only their classmates, friends, and an accumulation of four years of memories and knowledge but also the teachers who played a big part in their learning. Every year, teachers see their senior students move on from high school to another part of their journey, and saying goodbye evokes many different emotions.

In the last few weeks of school, teachers look back at everything their students have done during high school. Centennial math teacher Jay Hooper said that, “I’m proud of their accomplishments. It’s really neat teaching seniors at the end of the year, seeing what they were able to accomplish throughout the year, seeing even in just that one year the growth that happens during class. I guess being proud of their accomplishments is the prevailing thought.”

Joanne Nielsen, an English teacher at Centennial High School feels the same way as Hooper. “Especially with my yearlong students, it’s really nice to see how they’ve matured over the course of the year, and it’s really sad to see them go because we’ve established a nice rapport. I feel like the class also in some ways becomes like a little family, and it’s kind of hard to see that break up,” Nielsen explained.

As the school year comes to a close, all that the seniors want is to be done with school. Senioritis becomes harder to fight off, and teachers adapt their classes by making coursework lighter and more enjoyable for students to finish school on a positive note.

After the seniors’ last day, they will graduate seven days later on May 28 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 7 pm. Many teachers will be there to help organize the event.

“I usually try to volunteer to help line up the graduates, kind of almost as a last chance to say goodbye,” commented Hooper.

Graduation, however, does not have to be the last time a senior talks to a teacher. Many try to keep in touch through Facebook and other methods.

Nielsen noted, “I tell [my students] that they can friend me [on Facebook] after they’ve graduated. Every now and then, a student will ask me if you want to sit down and have some coffee, and so we’ve had coffee time together, and that’s been pretty fun.”

Even though students will be missed by their teachers once they graduate, “it would be silly to be in high school for the rest of your life,” said Hooper. Therefore, seniors should accept that this stage of their lives is ending and embrace everything the future might bring.