Senior Night 2021

Kailani Fletcher and Kimberly Moreno

Even though Senior year is full of an overwhelming amount of “last times”, events like Downey High School’s Senior Night can make each past and future moment more memorable for twelfth graders. The traditional Senior Night ceremony, which is followed by a performance by Band and Color Guard, involves seniors walking across the field with their friends and family after their names are announced for everyone to hear. After the high school experience that the Class of 2022 endured due to a global pandemic, honoring seniors with such events makes all of the struggle worthwhile for students. On September 30, 2021, family and friends of seniors a part of Band, Color Guard, Cheer, Dance, and Football came together to show their support with flowers, posters, and presents. 


Events like these can be bittersweet, but they can also remind seniors of why they got involved in school activities in the first place. “I looked forward to Senior Night because I saw my brother walk with my parents and that motivated me to finish football,” Senior Football player Andres Deanda revealed. “It’s a little sad, but it’s a little joyful at the same time because I am taking a big step in life. I feel like I’m ready to face any new challenges.” For many, this ceremony was something that they looked forward to as underclassmen. Seeing those go before them, made the moment even more important. “In my sophomore and freshman year, I saw the ceremony and thought it was really cool,” Senior Cheerleader Paula Bencomo expressed. “I was excited to experience it myself. Now, I can’t believe it’s happening for me. It all went by so fast.” 


A feeling of surprise and excitement was common among the celebrated seniors, but there was also a feeling of loss. “It’s bittersweet because I’m losing a very prominent part of my life,” Molly Rhodes, another Senior Cheerleader, shared. “Because we practice all the time and we’re always with our people, not being around them is going to be different.” Despite any looming sadness, the tradition of Senior Night shows seniors all of the progress they have made since the beginning of their high school careers. “It is kind of sad, but I am happy about it too because I’ve come a long way,” Football player Richard Ramos, 12, explained. “Every game is sad in a way and I’ll miss the hard days where we all come together as a family, but it’s all worth it.” 


For some, getting to celebrate how far they have come with some of their closest friends made all of the sacrifices from the past three years worth it. “Color Guard is really nice because you don’t have to have any prior experience. We take in everybody, but we just have to work really hard,” Color Guard member Marissa Marmelejo, 12, affirmed. “Our schedules are very packed. We’ve put in a lot of hard work and a lot of our time over the years.” 


Senior Night allows teammates to celebrate each other’s accomplishments. For groups that have been together for all four years, the night was especially sentimental. “Our team is very closely bonded and it means the world to me having all of them there to support us seniors,” Dance Team member Olivia Garcia, 12, explained. “Since it is my last year, I will definitely miss spending every day with the girls because they are my second family. I love them very much and I am lucky to have them with me for this special occasion.”

The ceremony also serves as a reminder to twelfth graders to make the most of their last year. After all of their dedication, prospering during the time they have left has become incredibly important. “This is my last chance to do everything that I’ve wanted, in band and in school,” Senior Band member Karla Jimenez, stated. “This mentality definitely is a motivator for me. It helps remind me that there are no re-dos of high school or band, so I have to make the most of it and take every opportunity granted to me.” Overall, the whole night turned out to be a whirlwind of emotions for those involved, but the honored seniors were grateful to celebrate all of their past successes and the ones to come.