Handprint day marks one more step toward graduation

Guerin Balkovec and Brian Genovesi

Permanently marking the school walls is usually strictly punished, but on senior handprint day it is a long-honored tradition endorsed by staff and enjoyed by students.

Every year members of the senior class have the opportunity to leave their handprints on the walls of the school as a sentimental send-off as the high school years draw to a close.

Students look forward to senior handprint day throughout the years of high school, and excitement is high when the day finally comes. That day was April 10 this year.

“After seeing the handprints every day for four years, there is a sense of accomplishment when you finally get to add to the wall,” senior class co-sponsor Dr. Daniel Harrold said.

For some, it is simply another step towards graduation, but for many others, handprint day offers a bittersweet moment of reflection.

“This is different. It’s going to be weird not being here next year,” senior Russell Cyprowski said.

The tradition began in 2010, with the original idea being to give the senior class that year a way to commemorate their years of dealing with construction at the high school. Harrold has organized the event each year since becoming senior class co-sponsor in 2015.

Students view handprint day as one of the final milestones of high school, often finally realizing that their four years here are nearing an end.

“This is definitely one of those moments that makes me realize the next step is graduation,” Cyprowski said.

While some seniors choose to put their handprints near their friends’ as a lasting mark for the relationships forged in high school, others said they believed this to be bad luck.

Harrold said he once witnessed six couples put their handprints together in the same year, and by graduation only one of the couples was still together.

Some students said handprint day is such a strong symbol of the end of the year that it causes them to lose motivation.

“Now I feel like everything is over, but we still have a month of school left,” senior Austin Sabo said.

Since many seniors have been accepted to college or trade school, or have made plans for life in the military or workplace, continuing to work after such a milestone event can be difficult for even the best of students.

“It’s hard to keep going now, but I’m pushing through,” senior class President Paige Ernst said.