Scenes from the senior tent

Scenes+from+the+senior+tent

Jiya Chatterjee, Staff Writer

Since the senior class did not have the opportunity to experience many typical senior traditions due to COVID-19 restrictions, the administration wanted to do something for the graduating class that would make them feel celebrated, Class of 2021 Dean Susan Groppi said. Last week, the school installed a tent on Alumni Field as a space where seniors can spend their free time during their last semester with their classmates. 

The tent is stocked with different forms of entertainment, such as spin bikes, snacks, bean bags, a television, and more. It also has various board games, such as a life-sized version of Connect Four.

Coffee is also available in the tent every Friday, Upper Division Library Department Chair Caroline Bartels said. “The best part about the tent has definitely been the food,” Mabel Runyon (12) said. “It’s a nice place to just take a breather and get a Starbucks coffee.” 

The seniors have been asking the administration about having another space that could be just theirs for some time, Dean of Students Michael Dalo said. “Some students had mentioned it in passing during the fall, but due to the pandemic, it just wasn’t possible at the time,” he said. “Now that more students are in the process of getting or have been vaccinated, it was something that we could finally consider.” 

Due to the limited capacity in the library’s Senior Lounge, Bartels is excited that the seniors will have another space where more students can gather, she said. “Only so many kids can fit in [the lounge], so we really hope that students will take advantage of everything in there and the fact that it’s outside.”

Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly and Director of Facilities Management Gordon Jensen spearheaded the project, setting up the new space over the two week online period following spring break, Dalo said. The Maintenance Department provided an artificial floor and carpeting, the Tech Department provided a large television, and FLIK committed to stocking the tent with drinks and snacks, Kelly said. 

The senior tent came as a surprise to members of the Class of 2021. Students take advantage of the group-friendly activities available in the tent, like playing board games together, Mitchell Yu (12) said. 

“The tent is nice because my friends and I all share a love of games, so it’s fun to have video games and other stuff that we can do together,” Anthony White (12) said. 

The tent has become a regular part of many seniors’ lives. “A trip to the tent at least once a day to get snacks and meet up with friends has become a part of my daily routine,” Srijani Shreya (12) said. 

While students are appreciative of the effort the administration has put in for their class, the tent does not replace the senior traditions that were lost because of COVID-19, Sonja Cooper (12) said. “What was great about those past experiences was that they united the class, but all this tent does is create another space for individuals to hang out with friends, and not necessarily interact with other people in their grade,” Cooper said. Nonetheless, most have felt the positive impact of the new addition, Shreya said. 

“At the end of the day, we just want [our seniors] to be happy,” Groppi said. “This has been such a hard, weird, and disruptive year, but despite that we just want them to graduate with some really great memories.”