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A look into the past: Class of 2007

Megha Nelivigi, Staff Writer

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More than 10 years after starting senior traditions, heightening school spirit, bonding as a class, and setting the foundations for a marriage, the Class of 2007 will reunite at Homecoming 2017.

Jessica Heidenberg Heyer ‘07 and PJ Heyer ‘07 celebrated their wedding in 2014, eight years after they began dating just after junior year. They finished senior year by attending prom together and later attended the same college as undergraduates.

The rest of their lives would have turned out very differently had the two not met at the school, Heidenberg Heyer said.

The Class of 2007 was a class full of spirit and energy, Sushil Raja ‘07 said.

To foster school spirit, Daniel Liss ‘07, Jonny Sirulnick ‘07, and Danny Childs ‘07, created Maroon Monsoon.

The idea behind Maroon Monsoon was essentially to “pick an event and turn it into a party,” whether it was a swim meet, a wrestling match, a soccer game, or anything else,” Sirulnick said.

“We created Maroon Monsoon as a way to bring the school together through sports and invoke a sense of camaraderie when the school was experiencing some internal strife,” Liss said.

The trio handed out shirts and made it clear that there would be a game before any sporting event, Liss said. The first game they advertised was a home football game and “basically the whole school showed up. It was awesome,” he said.

The students certainly left their mark, as Maroon Monsoon still exists today; this week is the Maroon Monsoon-organized spirit week. Each day has a different theme—Monday was pajama day, for instance—and school pride is encouraged with tattoos, food, and music.

The class was spirited in other ways as well, Justin Luk ‘07 said. Luk was involved in the Senior Council, a group of students who organized senior-wide events alongside Upper Division Chair Caroline Bartels. The group held events such as a grade-wide color war and beach club night, Luk said.

“Our class really wanted to make the year as fun as it could be. We held so many events—we had a back-to-school senior barbeque, senior movie nights, a pool party, a disco roller derby, and did so many other things to make the year more festive,” Heidenberg Heyer said.

The Class of ‘07 also started the tradition of Senior Dorr, where 12th grade students have the option to go to the school’s John Dorr Nature Laboratory as a sort of final goodbye, Luk said. The tradition still lives on to this day.

Senior Dorr, Luk said, was one of his fondest memories from high school.

“I just remember the entire weekend being incredible. I’d say more than half of the grade came. It was a great collection of students from a bunch of different groups, bonding, talking, coming together, realizing that graduation was just around the corner. Many of us had been a part of HM for at least half of our lives or more; it was an amazing experience,” Luk said.

The grade was tight-knit, Raja said. “There was definitely a strong sense of community in our class,” he said. “We were all friendly with one another, especially by senior year, and even after graduating, many of us are still close with others from our class.”

Although 10 years have passed, students from the Class of ‘07 participated in many of the same extracurricular activities that students participate in now. Heyer, for instance, was involved in a little bit of everything, playing in the orchestra and band, and participating on the soccer and golf teams. In terms of academics, Heyer described himself as “all over the place.”
“I really liked everything—math, science, history. One of my favorite classes was Dr. Schiller’s Senior Reading Seminar on mystery and spy books. I still remember it so clearly,” Heyer said.

The school played a major role in Heyer’s future, he said. “This didn’t dawn on me until five or 10 years after I had graduated but Horace Mann is a concentration of extremely talented and smart people in such a small geographical space. I have never come across anything like that since, including in college or anywhere that I’ve worked,” Heyer said.

Even after attending the University of Pennsylvania with a number of other students from the school “it was clear, to me at least, that the students from HM were way more prepared than anybody else,” Heyer said.

Liss shared a similar experience, he said. “Even after attending a serious college and grad school, the smartest, most hardworking people I know are from HM,” Liss said.

Ultimately, the class had a blast during their final year at the school, Sirulnick said. “It really was the best senior year,” he said. “The friends we made were for a lifetime.”

“If I could go back and do it all over again,” Heidenberg Heyer said. “I would, and I would do it exactly the same, because I loved the experience. I am a lifelong learner because of HM.”


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A look into the past: Class of 2007