Letter to the Editor: Our ‘Awful’ Senior Trip

At the beginning of the year, the seniors were called down to the auditorium for their last ‘first class meeting of the year’ ever. Mrs. Guarriello told us that this was our senior year.

She explained to our senior class that we had the ability to make this year exactly how we wanted it to be and was open to any and all suggestions from our class. From our perspective, senior privileges were the top priority.

Suggestions included sitting outside for lunch, bringing back open gyms, being exempt from finals if you finish with an “A” in the class, and finally the ability for seniors to skip beginning and end of day study halls. We left that room excited about the year; finally, an administration that would listen to and work with us to make our ideas reality. After all, this was our senior year.

​In mid-January, the class was rounded up for another senior class meeting. The principals announced that the senior class officers were working on a senior class trip to New York City, a glimmer of hope for our class. Similar topics from September were brought up to our principals.

Students directly asked what had happened to all of our ideas, what progress was being made, and why no privileges had gone into effect now that we were halfway finished with our senior year. The response was that our senior privilege ideas would start to go into effect next year.

The principals announced this news as if our class should be happy and proud that we led the way for the rest of the school to have great senior years of their own, unlike our own. Not a single senior can honestly say that happiness was the emotion they felt upon hearing that news – we felt deprived and disappointed.

It has been 213 days since the first day of school and we have less than 70 days left until graduation. There are zero senior privileges. What happened to the hopeful message of change at the beginning of the year? What happened to making this our senior year?

The one saving grace was the senior class trip. By this point, seniors have gotten used to school without privileges, and we have accepted that the likelihood of the administration actually living up to the words spoken at the beginning of the year is extraordinarily low. However, the senior class trip was different. It was the one thing that could make our senior year special.

On March 18th, 2019, all the seniors received an email from Ms. Brinson that included a survey about the class trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. This surprised the majority of us. As up until that point, we had all heard that our class officers were planning the trip to New York City. Apparently, this was a surprise to the officers too. There was no explanation given to the senior class regarding the sudden change of plans.

​So, who planned the trip? The administration. The class officers have shared details about their planning process of the trip to any classmate that has asked. The current trip is obviously not planned for NYC, but it will also only provide yellow school buses and is on June 4th, a day that the seniors do not have to come to school.

At this point in the year, we have come to expect nothing. However, it doesn’t make the most recent snub any less upsetting to our class as a whole. Time is running out on our senior year, and this was the one chance we had to leave positive change behind while we could also reap the benefits and see them in action.

After an outpour of frustration from the seniors following the announcement of the senior class trip to Six Flags, it became the talk of the grade. I heard from friends in two separate classes of classwide discussions about the class trip with many frustrated seniors.

The class officers then opened a suggestion box for seniors to type out their opinions and feelings about the trip. This suggestion box was posted to the Class of 2019 Instagram, and all the responses were viewable to the all of the respondents. Everyone was invited to contribute! After submitting responses to the form, it was clear that the seniors were displeased. In total, there were 43 responses, most of them indicating that the trip was not what they hoped for or what they expected. One of the responses summed up the consensus of the group: “Awful.”

The Class of 2019 being ripped-off is a feeling we are rather familiar with. If you are unaware, we have an unfortunate history dating back to our time at JPLIS, regarding trips. We have missed the trip to Ellis Island due to a hurricane, a Philadelphia Phillies game due to funding, an America’s Got Talent viewing due to snow, and none of the trips were rescheduled. We have been to Dorney Park – in the rain in middle school and then again, in junior year for physics class. There seems to be a theme with amusement parks.

I have always looked forward to senior year, a magical, carefree and bittersweet year to enjoy, above all. Yet when I look back on our final year at SLHS, someday down the road from now, those emotions won’t be the first to pop into my mind.

I believe my class instead shares emotions of disappointment, being let down and feeling as if steps could have been taken to do more for the students who have spent the last 13 years of our lives being grown, nurtured and educated at Southern Lehigh.

With all of this being said, I know that the principals and administration as a whole are good people, and I believe that they think they are doing the best job that they can. This is not a criticism of their character nor a criticism of their dedication to the betterment of this school for the future. Many of their actions have already begun making this school a generally better place.

The purpose of this letter to the editor is to shine a light on how the senior class at this school truly feels. I believe that the administration can do better with regard to the students who helped make this school such a great place over the years.

So, when the senior most class notices things that make it worse to attend school here, we have an obligation to speak up because in the end we all have the same goal of bettering this school for the future.

That’s why this letter is being written, to try and make Southern Lehigh a better place. But, for that to happen the seniors need to be listened to, valued, and taken seriously when we say that actions should be made.

–    A Disappointed, Unvalued Senior