Senior high school traditions compared

Every school has its traditions. Such traditions tend to impact a student’s experience while at the school, as well as contribute to determining the environment on campus.

Palo Alto High School, Woodside High School and Menlo-Atherton High School all have particular traditions that are central to their schools.

At Paly, Streak Week is perhaps the most notorious tradition for seniors.

During one week near the end of the school year, seniors streak through campus, normally directly across the Quad.

Not every senior participates, but there tends to be a large number that choose to partake in the tradition every year. Some streakers run with just a few people, while others run in large groups.

Over the course of the week, hundreds of students gather around the Quad, standing on benches whenever possible, waiting for the streakers to pass.

Exactly when they will come is generally unknown, which creates an atmosphere of exciting suspense for the student onlookers.

When the streakers finally make their appearance, cheers and gasps from their fellow classmates fill their ears as they dash across campus and make their way to their getaway car with their clothes in it and a driver that is waiting to whisk them off to safety.

The tradition has been in place for many years and has received various comical variations, such as some streakers who tossed live chickens to the crowds as they ran across the Quad in 2011.

In the past few years, students have faced serious punishment for their actions, and, due to a streaking incident earlier this school year, it appears that the current seniors will face a much stricter administration.

Woodside High School in Woodside, Calif., also has a notable tradition called the Senior Run.

Unlike Paly’s Streak Week, this tradition takes place on the same day every year, the last day of Homecoming Week, and does not evoke frustration or punishment from the school’s administration because the students are clothed while they run.

For the Senior Run, various seniors from the school proudly carry Woodside’s school flag as they run rambunctiously throughout campus, yelling loudly, knocking on the doors and windows of classrooms and overall distracting all other teachers and students.

Like Streak Week, the tradition has been upheld for many years, and parents who are Woodside alumni with sons or daughters who are currently at Woodside High frequently recount their memories of when they took part in the high-spirited tradition during their years at the high school.

Menlo Atherton High School in Menlo Park, Calif., has a less rambunctious senior tradition, but  exciting nonetheless.

Every fall, the students organize a senior fashion show. Seniors work to find local stores that are willing to donate clothes for the fashion show. From there, the seniors are split into groups.

Each group of seniors is assigned a particular type of clothing, such as evening wear, snow wear or athletic wear.  The seniors then undergo weeks of practice for walking the runway over the weeks leading up to the show.

Finally, on the day of the show, all their hard work consummates when they walk the runway with their groups.

This tradition serves as a great opportunity for Menlo-Atherton students to practice involvement in large events that can be complicated to organize, as well as a one final time for the students, faculty, and parents to work closely together before the students graduate in May.

Despite the differences between traditions at the schools, they all serve the same purpose: to tie together the student body by providing something for the students to look forward to and encourage school spirit.

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