Ashley Ridge Lights the Night for Seniors

how we celebrated our seniors in the midst of chaos..


Hailey Brinson, Contributor

As everyone settles down and prepares for summer vacation, we all think back onto how the 2019-2020 school year was cut short. To some, that may not have been an issue or big deal, but to seniors all around the world, there was a totally different meaning. Teenagers come into high school expecting a written timeline on how each of the four years will go. However, for the graduating class of 2020, it was nothing like that. Unable to have a proper graduation and formal goodbye, Ashley Ridge High School sure knew how to Light the Night for our seniors.

The event, held on Friday, May 1, 2020 was put on by faculty and staff for seniors and their families. The school even asked the AR community to get involved by cutting on porch lights, flashlights, Christmas lights, etc. around the same time the families would be participating. Almost all of the faculty and staff were there and many participants came prepared with signs and decorated vehicles.

Most of the senior participants were unsure of what to expect, but knew the event would attach a fun and eventful opportunity they wouldn’t want to pass up. Senior Katie Burchette tells us, “I was actually very excited for it because I saw a lot of other high schools doing it and it looked like a very creative way to say goodbye to the seniors since we won’t be having our senior slideshow or picnic.” Seniors were also able to see all of their friends in their own vehicles while at the event.

Being able to see all of the faculty, staff and friends brings a lot of new memories and emotions. Senior Abby Grossman states, “I was so happy to see my teachers. Learning isn’t the same without being in the classroom with them. It was exciting seeing all of them lined up cheering us on.” All of the participating students felt so honored as they were welcomed to The Ridge one last time by all the people they love.

Again, senior families were heading in to Light the Night while not knowing what to expect and what they would take away. Little did they know, almost the entire faculty/ staff would be waiting for them to arrive, helping them to feel as special and as celebrated as they could. Senior Ashton Palencia expresses, “There was a great turnout!! So many people showed up and so many teachers and staff members were there. The parking lot was practically full and it was just really special being at The Ridge with everyone again!!”

For each student, seeing their teachers, all of the staff and of course their friends sure made them feel so celebrated and special.

Senior year for a student holds so much potential and brightness for each individual taking it on. Two particular seniors here at AR sure knew how to live it up for as long as they could. Senior Colby Goodwin explains, “My favorite part of senior year was definitely when I played Sharpay in our school musical, ‘High School Musical’. Being a part of something that involves so many people was incredible and very rewarding.” Goodwin also states, “I will definitely miss the underclassmen friends that I have made through that and through the arts department at AR.”

Senior Ashton Palencia also filled us in on her favorite memories that helped to make her senior year so special. Palencia mentions, “My favorite part would probably have to be Friday night lights with my cheerleading team. It was so much fun finally being a senior and getting to lead with my other senior girls.” Palencia also tells us, “I love my team so much and I’m so glad I was able to spend my last year with amazing girls and my awesome coaches!!”

Obviously, there are a handful of seniors all across the globe who would love to go back and do it all again. To go back to a time when everything seemed so simple and when graduating seemed like a lightyear away. Naturally, the staff here at The Ridge had to check in with some seniors and see what advice they would give to their “freshie” selves. Grossman opens, “Don’t stress too much about every little grade. Just do your best and enjoy the time you have in high school.” Goodwin also advises, “I would tell myself ‘don’t be afraid to go out there and embarrass yourself!’ High school is all about having fun and learning along the way.”

With the help of the faculty, parents, staff and the senior class, Ashley Ridge sure did help to Light the Night and make our seniors feel so appreciated and loved one last time. All of the special memories made throughout their years at Ashley Ridge will stay close with them forever, for they will always have a home here at The Ridge.