Cheers and applause ring out as PHS seniors look out into a crowd of friends, family and teammates. A tradition at PHS, senior days honor graduating athletes for their spirit and dedication to their sport, while highlighting the friendship between teammates. Teams such as golf, lacrosse, baseball, and boys tennis all have senior days to celebrate the tail end of the season and wish their seniors good luck for the future. Many of the seniors participating have spent all four years playing with the team and are now the leaders and role models.
On Senior Day, seniors are individually recognized for their achievements and can reflect on their time at PHS. This can also bring out a sadder side of the season’s end as teams must prepare to say goodbye to their beloved leaders and friends.
“I’ve played softball for all four years, and it’s become such a huge part [of me], so [senior day] was sort of like a culmination of the past four years,” said softball Co-Captain Jessie Campisi ’14. “I … love the team and I’m going to miss everybody a lot. [So] it was a really great ceremony … but it was a happy yet sad time.”
Current seniors often took part in previous senior celebrations when they were sophomores and juniors, and the honor is much anticipated for many athletes.
“It was definitely something we looked forward to. Every year when you’re [preparing for senior day] you’re thinking of the nice stuff that you’re going to do for your seniors … and [thinking of] when you’re a senior [and what] they’ll do for you,” said girls lacrosse Co-Captain Dana Smith ’14.
Senior Day can also mark a stressful time for the team as the pressure mounts for a post-season run. It signals to the team that the members only have a finite amount of time left with their leaders and that soon the season will come to a close. This hits the seniors hardest because they must come to terms with either starting all over again with a new team or saying goodbye to their cherished sport.
“It was definitely really sad to think about this [being] our last season … It’s sad to think about leaving [the team]. I love all the underclassmen so much so it’s going to be weird next year not to go to school with a lot of them,” said Smith.
Spending hours during bus rides, training, or playing games together creates a sense of friendship and camaraderie on a sports team. This bond adds to the joy of senior day, as seniors can share their moment with friends that they made through their sport and their families who attend the celebration.
“I’m going to miss everybody on the team, especially my friends … I enjoyed spending time with all those guys … It’s going to be sad leaving them and moving on,” said boys tennis Co-Captain Zachary Hojeibane ’14.
While celebrating together, teams recognize the effort and dedication that their senior members put into the season and collectively enjoy a day of celebration by voicing their thankfulness through speeches or presents. These celebrations can range from psychs to banquets. The days are organized by the juniors of the team.
“A few days before [senior day] we made T-shirts that had ‘Princeton Softball’ [on the front] and on the back we wrote ‘seniors’ and everybody else on [their] back wrote ‘our seniors are … eh,’ … We found it hilarious,” said Liana Bloom ’14.
Being the oldest members of a team comes with a sense of responsibility to lead younger teammates both on and off the field. However, part of being a senior is that, after four years of experience, graduating athletes can celebrate the fact that they have fulfilled their roles as leaders of the team.
“[As a senior I felt] a responsibility to keep people focused on the game and [to] keep people working hard in practice,” said boys baseball Captain Jeffrey Gleason ’14.
Said Smith, “There’s definitely that feeling of some sort of responsibility being a senior. We’ve got freshmen and sophomores on the team whom we’re role models for … but we’ve had such great leadership in the past so I’ve learned how to act.”