Hello Graduation, Goodbye Seniors

Marriotts Ridge High School MRHS Graduation May 5, 2022 Nicholas Griner Howard County Public School System

Graduation, an event the class of 2023 has anticipated since 2019, is now approaching, and the students are excited to celebrate.
This year’s ceremony will be held on June 1st at 7pm at Merriweather Post Pavilion. According to the Senior Activity and Graduation Info Doc, here are the events the seniors have to look forward to.
On May 15, the class of 2023 will have their Senior Class Night. On Wednesday, May 18th finals will begin for seniors and will end on the 22nd. Within those days, graduation rehearsals and cap and gown distribution will occur.
May 23rd will be the seniors last day of high school. The day will be filled with a panoramic photo session, an award ceremony and a senior picnic.
“On that day [May 23rd] the seniors will take their panoramic picture in their gap and gown, and then they’ll go to the awards assembly. Then there will be the senior picnic during lunch time which will last for two hours and then the senior video will happen in the auditorium where everyone will get their graduation tickets and banners,” media specialist Ms. Rashid said.
On graduation day, the graduates should arrive at the check-in area no later than 6:30 pm, and they must be dressed in their cap and gown with semi-formal attire underneath.
Students are advised to hang their gowns and to not iron their gown. In addition, under HCPSS policy, students are prohibited from decorating the cap and gown.
There are many things to take into consideration when planning graduation.
“Our primary focus is to make sure that the kids are prepared and feel comfortable with the process. So, this year it’s 450 seniors approx, so it’s making sure they all have their gowns and caps and making sure rehearsals give them all the information they need in order to feel comfortable at Merriweather,” Ms. Rashid said.
Every year at graduation a few seniors give speeches on different topics; this year students Isabel Mathews, Allison Kim and Alan Zhao will be speaking.
Mathews will speak how this is a new chapter for the seniors.
“I’m speaking about everything from a main character perspective, so my whole speech is romanticizing your life but in a sense of ‘oh we’re graduating highschool’ it’s kind of like a story. I have a whole theme of a story, so the whole time I’m talking about how life is a great big story, and right now it’s a new chapter in your life,” Mathews said.
As SGA president, Zhao will be giving a mini speech introducing the teacher of the year, Mr. Khouri.
“Not going to lie, at first I thought and felt like people expected me to, but then I got the teacher of the year speech, and now I’m pretty excited to celebrate Mr. Khouri and crack a couple of jokes,” Zhao said.
The final student speaking is Allison Kim, whose speech focuses on coming of age. She is thrilled that she is able to end her high school career by addressing her class.
“I’m really excited about speaking at graduation. It feels nice that the last thing I got to do in high school is so impactful. I’m kind of nervous, but I think it is going to be okay,” Kim said.
For Mathews, giving a speech at graduation is like a dream come true, and she can’t wait for her peers to see what she’s going to say.
“I’m so excited; this is something that I’ve been looking forward to for so long. I’ve always wanted to be the one to give a speech …. I’m giving a new take on graduation from something that a lot of students can relate to and I’m excited for everyone to see what I’m going to say,” Mathews said.
Seniors look back at the past four years of high school and recall different memories of their high school experience and express how they feel.
Rachel Song recalled her high school memories.
“I loved freshman year soccer the most; that group of people was just peak. I got to learn a lot and playing soccer alongside my friend Mira, who I’ve played club soccer with since we were little kids was a surreal experience. Virtual sort of ruined a lot during sophomore year, but I got a reset in junior year which wasn’t exactly the best due to a few personal issues. However in my senior year, I loved Mr Sullivan, who I’ve known since freshman year, but he’s seen a huge change in the way I represent myself. He really shines a great light on the staff here,” Song said.
Mahmoud Babkir expressed his thoughts on leaving high school.
“The best way to put it is bitter-sweet. Of course every student will say that they can’t wait for the last day of school, the day that summer starts. But when you take a minute to stop and reminisce, the great memories made throughout the years begin to wash over you. Although I’m ready to begin a new chapter in life, I will still miss the memories made in this one,” Babkir said.
The class of 2023 is a unique group, with them being the final class that was affected by COVID-19 when it first began in high school; they’ve been through a great deal, from having their freshman year cut short due to a worldwide pandemic, to sophomore year being virtual. Finally coming back in person during arguably the hardest year of high school to now as seniors having their first full normal final year of school, this class’ high school experience was nothing like a high school musical. With graduation just around the corner, the seniors are almost officially finished as high schoolers and will shortly begin their new journeys.