The last day of school for the Upper School is often known as “Senior Cry Day.” The whole school meets in the Main Hall for the final Morning Meeting (seniors seated on couches hauled from every corner of the campus) to reflect on the year and share parting thoughts. Lower classmen bid farewell to the seniors. Siblings share how Athenian brought them closer together. Graduates ceremoniously pass the hat to the future leaders of clubs and teams. Teachers wish their students good luck. And seniors sob their goodbyes to the school.
To respect the intimate nature of this emotional day in the community, the following quotes have been recorded anonymously.
“I wanted to say that coming to Athenian was the best decision of my life. Everyone I’ve spent time with here has really changed my life for the better…his is the first place I’ve ever really considered a home. There’s something great to get from everyone here. I’ve made so many great friendships and have so many good relationships with the people here. I love all of you. I’m really going to miss having this as my home.”
“I think the Athenian community makes people think that every individual happens to be like siblings.”
“You have encouraged me to accept myself” (Sophomore to a senior)
“There is no word in the English language or any language that can express my gratitude…You are the most dedicated teacher on this campus. You answer every single one of our questions, no matter how ridiculous and every day we are greeted with a smile. You expect the best of us. And seeing your dedication toward teaching made me want to put just as much effort into class…Because you deserve only the students who are as willing to learn as you are about teaching…Thank you for teaching me what it means to be a student and what it means to learn.” (Senior to a teacher)
“I want to say thank you to each and every one of you guys–the teachers, the staff, the students–for making my experience here what it is and being a part of my Athenian family.”
“I could talk for hours about how this school has shaped me into the person that I am.”
“You guys have been great influences and have shown me how high school should go.” (Senior to peers)
“I’ve only been here for two years…but it’s so great to be here. I just want to thank you because this is a really great place. I don’t think a lot of you realize how lucky you are to go to a school where you know everybody and where everybody cares about everybody else. To all my classmates, thank you to being so welcoming and such great people.”
“I was this close to [not coming back to Athenian after sophomore year]. I decided to stay and I’m really glad I did just because I feel like what Athenian has, like everyone has talked about, just this community, it’s nothing like you get anywhere else. I mean the fact that you can have a meeting like this, all these personal interactions that people have been having up here, I mean the round of applause that Tom Swope got. This is very unique. It’s a very friendly community. I mean, where’s Thaddeus? I took the late bus twice freshman year and I don’t even think Thaddeus was driving. But every time I pass him he gives me a hug and says hi to me. That is amazing. It’s the kind of unconditional love this community fosters. And also, you know, being a senior, I have some friends in the senior class, and a lot of my good friends are in the junior class. But I also have some good friends who are sophomores and even freshman. And if you think of your classic high school scenario, freshmen and sophomores exist for the seniors to like throw in lockers… But these guys are like my homeboys, I love you guys! That’s a very unique thing here. And that’s the main thing I’m going to miss about this community, just how tight everyone is.”
“What I first want to do is thank everyone here…it’s the whole sum of the community that makes it a good place. I want to thank all my teachers for not only giving me a good education but also inspiring me and creating a good atmosphere and everything that goes along with it. But I want to thank the guys that I hang out with a lot during lunch…When I go to [school] next year, I won’t be able to play sit-catch, hat-catch, throw a frisbee in the Commons, all of that is going to be missing….I’m not going to be able to make up games and run around like a [crazy] person, or I mean, I will be able to but I might be a social pariah…Thank you for a great four years.”
“When I first came to this school, the first thing I wanted to do was leave. I really didn’t want to be at Athenian. Now, leaving Athenian is the last thing I want to do. Most people get up here and talk about their relationships with their friends–and while that stands true, I really love you guys, thank you so much– I want to acknowledge the strengths of the community. From my struggles with my academic course work to my struggles at home, you people have been here. When I had to go through some of the most difficult times of my life, the school was truly a home to me. Thank you so much Athenian for your generosity, your kind spirit, and for always supporting me. Thank you for making me a better person.”