Do People Even Care About Seniority?

Brandon Kim '23, Staff Writer

Within the last few years, COVID-19 had rendered seniority at the Loomis Chaffee School less effective, as the pandemic prevented the classes of 2020 and 2021 from fully experiencing perhaps their most exciting period of high school: Senior Spring.
Fortunately, as COVID restrictions begin to loosen, the Class of 2022 may be capable of spending their final months with their friends until Commencement arrives. Spring term often sees the full effects of seniority, for the seniors make a desperate run to fill their high school “bucket lists” before moving on to college. And it is rightfully so that these seniors have all the opportunity to reach the satisfactory ending they have been working so hard for.
In other words, the perks of being a senior may sometimes appear as unjust to the eyes of other classes; however, the four-year, emotional rollercoaster these students have overcome serves as valid justification to seniority.
The argument against seniority questions basic trends of exclusivity that Loomis may offer. Seniority may impose the concept of student inequality toward younger grades, and prevents the senior class from bonding with the entire community. This is exacerbated by the normative sentiment that Loomis seniors—no longer paying much attention to their grades or class participation rates—are relatively isolated from the rest of campus life.
Yet, this new-age lifestyle is the lesser of two evils, rising from a shift in the general culture between upper and underclassmen. Loomis, along with many other schools, has moved away from its previous rituals of underclassmen hazing and senior oligarchy to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment: respecting the period of rest that seniors have earned, while allowing underclassmen to continue about their routine schedule at the Island.
Two official senior privileges, however, do exist in Loomis. Firstly, seniors are permitted to walk from the dining hall to their dorms and Founders through the senior path. Secondly, their departure from LC occurs a week or two earlier than the rest of the student body.
Perhaps, these two privileges are a big deal to everyone else. However, it is inevitable that seniors, who have looked forward to finally becoming the leaders of Loomis, will enter the last days of their high school career with a desire to forge cherished memories with their friends, dormmates, and other peers. Frankly, other than the aforementioned “privileges,” a senior’s lifestyle isn’t all that different from a junior’s. Both classes abide by the same check-in times, available locations during study hall or the school day, and other residential rules.
One rule change seniors have pushed for is the delaying of late check-in from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. Until several years ago, seniors were allowed an extra hour to stay outside of their dorms. The Class of 2022 have begun addressing the return of this rule for the spring term.
“I hope that at least by spring term, we gain some kind of privilege in staying out later than the other classes. It would be great to reinstate late check in and gain back a stronger sense of seniority.” Chloe Chen ’22 said.
This is a policy that should certainly be passed, and with haste. This year’s seniors will soon enter the Spring term, looking for more opportunities to forge lasting bonds with their fellow Pelicans on the Island. It’s the least we can do to provide our hardworking student-leaders with more opportunities for that. No class has struggled from this irritating pandemic more than the senior class. Let’s give them the farewell they deserve.