The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Acorn Newsmagazine

The Student News Site of Royal Oak High School

Acorn Newsmagazine

Looking back… and moving forward

Underclassmen reflect fondly on seniors who inspired them
Photo+Contributed+by+Stella+Rogers
Photo Contributed by Stella Rogers

Senior year is an exciting time for everyone. Basking in the attention of being the “top dog” and standing in the front of the student section are just some notable perks. Watching your friends enjoy their last year of high school is a moving experience, and one that is enjoyed by all. But what happens when those seniors move on? What legacies do they leave behind, and what expectations come with that?
While we transition into a new phase of life and fill the roles that were once fulfilled by our upperclassmen friends, it can be hard to grapple with the loss of those close friends, teammates, significant others, or leadership figures in our lives. In almost every aspect, both inside and outside of school, we have someone we hold near and dear to our hearts who is not around anymore. It’s a hard concept to grasp. Some ROHS students have a lot to say about missing the people who have moved on.
“Max Zgoda, as my captain, showed me a lot of good skills for how to become a better runner, and helped me a lot in life. I miss that about the team,” said cross country runner Lucas Danaher.
For many athletes, seniors are a huge part of being connected with a team and serve as a grounding force for a sport that can sometimes be very difficult. Being able to rely on someone who is much more experienced in a sport that is both mentally and physically difficult is comforting.
Seniors are also central in establishing the culture of a team. Cross country runner Aaron Slanec found that his experience was better as a result of strong and amazing senior leadership.
“Merrick Guthrie was someone on the team that always made things so much fun, always playing games, picking random things up on runs, and eating things in the woods,” said Slanec, who acknowledged the uniqueness of the impact the seniors had on him through activities outside of cross country, like going to the gym and having bonfires. Slanec explained that these activities helped foster a good relationship with not only the team, but with the sport.
The importance of senior leadership isn’t just limited to sports. Senior Jasmine Gittinger is beginning to notice that many of her old drama club friends are missing as work on the fall musical continues, and she is feeling the shift in the group dynamic.
“There were a lot of seniors in drama club last year, and it’s so weird trying to fill their shoes,” said Gittinger. “Just the sheer number of people that graduated left, and now there’s a much larger hole to fill when it comes to delegating tasks.”
Drama club has a lot of moving parts, and senior leadership is critical in putting together a final product. It becomes awkward when people are expected to step up and take that responsibility when that position seems to have always been filled by someone older. Gittinger said that while she is hopeful, she also feels a sense of imposter syndrome- the inability to accept herself as ready enough to meet the expectations that were being placed on her.
“There are so many responsibilities to be taken on, and it’s not that it’s hard to do those things. It just feels weird calling all the shots,” she said.
Gittinger acknowledged that the recurring theme of being the oldest in the school can sometimes create pressure for incoming seniors. It’s hard to feel adequate when you are being thrown into a situation you have never been in before. The change is definitely drastic, and hard to cope with, especially for the new seniors.
The themes of change and stepping up are felt in other organizations, like ROHS Student Council, Sophomore Stella Rogers feels the absence of 2022-23 student council president, Katie Binkowski. Rogers looked up to Binkowski, not only as a student in leadership, but as a friend.
“It’s weird when I go to student council and I’m used to her not being there now, and not seeing her around town or school. It just feels wrong,” said Rogers.
It’s a weird phenomenon to carry on an organization without the person who helped form your love and passion for it. Rogers explained that she feels the need to keep the energy alive that was once so prominent with Binkowski as president.
“She just showed me how much student council meant to me, and helped bring out a side of myself that I didn’t even know existed,” said Rogers.
Being the only underclassman on the executive board of student council, it is a real feeling to be overwhelmed and reminisce about how the organization functioned previously.
Graduated seniors are people who were at one point, essential to our daily lives, activities, and classes, and are definitely people who are held near and dear to our hearts. While it is difficult to cope with what seems like the loss of a loved one, it’s important to recognize the fun they brought while it lasted. Additionally, it’s important for those who remain to live in that feeling accept that it’s time to pass the torch and take on the responsibility that has been a long time coming.

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About the Contributor
Victoria Emery, Business Manager
I’m Victoria and I am so excited to be the business manager for Acorn this year!! This is my second year in Acorn, and I love writing and reporting for the magazine. I am a varsity track and cross country runner and a student council officer. I am so ready for my senior year in Acorn and everything else!!

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