Seniors prepare for graduation


The greenhouse prepares flowers for graduation.

Lauren Hofmann

Leaving behind their high school lives forever, RBHS seniors, who have not been in classes this week, will graduate at 7 p.m. May 22 in Mizzou Arena at the University of Missouri.
David Bones, the head of activities, said there are lots of parts to putting together graduation.
“There are many pieces to organize in order to have a smooth graduation ceremony and as such there are many folks involved,  a team effort, for sure:  Guidance Office, Activities Office and the Principal’s Office, all have parts to play, to name a few,” Bones said. “In addition, Mrs. [Melissa] Coil [Senior Class Sponsor] coordinates faculty responsibilities at the ceremony. Junior girls from Tri-Theta hand out programs; next year’s Student Council  officers act as marshals; the RBHS band plays the music for the ceremony; the Career Center provides flowers, and representatives from the senior class audition and select the [RBHS student] performers and speakers.”
All of these groups must work together in order for a smooth graduation ceremony. The school holds a rehearsal at 9 a.m. on the day of graduation,  to ensure everything is in order for the commemoration.
Senior Emily Vu is looking forward to graduation, not just as a significant right of passage, but also as a celebration of her time at RBHS.
“A couple months ago, I had a countdown on my phone because I could not wait to get out of here, but then I realized, it’s my last year ever in high school, and although that may not mean a lot to some people, it’s something that I’m never going to experience again,” Vu said. “So I deleted that app off my phone, and I decided I’m going to cherish every single day left of senior year.”
Although she was once counting down her days, there were many things Vu liked about RBHS. Vu says  her favorite thing about RBHS was all the different options that the school had to offer.
“I’m glad I took advantage of the opportunities given to me,” Vu said, “being able to be in a school sport, march in the marching band and join all these other clubs.”
Vu is having a graduation party to celebrate her achievement, but she says she is most looking forward to the moment after she receives her diploma.
“Seeing my family afterwards, right in  front of the arena, seeing them and being able to take pictures and be like “I did it”,” Vu said. “[It’s going to be] just a happy day.”
Other students are also ready for graduation. Senior Anthony Reichert is ready for graduation but apprehensive for what his future holds.
“I’m really excited but also nervous for going to college,” Reichert said, ‘“not only classes being harder, though, but also just moving away from family.”
While graduating from high school is a big accomplishment, for Reichert, high school is not the big academic milestone that his family celebrates.
“I don’t think it’s a super big deal, just because the majority of my family has graduated from college,” Reichert said. “So that [graduating from college] is gonna be the bigger accomplishment, but graduating from high school was kind of expected, so that’s not to big of a deal.”
Reichert said his one regret is that he wishes he had taken his school work more seriously as an underclassman.
“It’s hard to pull up your cumulative GPA after the first couple years,” Reichert said. “I slacked of sophomore year and that killed my cumulative [GPA], and so I had to try really hard junior and senior year to help get it back up to where I wanted it.”
All in all, Reichert thoroughly enjoyed his high school experience.
“I like the environment and all the people, because everybody kind of has their own group of people and that just makes it a really diverse group of people,” Reichert said. “[There’s] not too many dislikes, I overall loved my experience at Rock Bridge.”
There are also nontraditional RBHS students, who graduate prior to senior year. Junior Mackenzie Lancey is graduating this year and planning on living in Switzerland for what would have been her senior year. Although in some ways it can be isolating, as most of her friends will be at RBHS for one more year, she said she is excited for the opportunities graduating early provided her with. Lancey was not planning on graduating early though; she only knew for sure she would be leaving RBHS for good in November.
“I didn’t necessarily want to graduate early,” Lancey said. “I mean, I love my friends here. I love the classes. I would have loved to take AP biology here. It was just a matter of … logistics; it just made sense.”
As for what made Lancey want to do an exchange year, it was the other positive experiences she had heard about other people having.
“Well, I had talked to other people who had done exchange years and a lot of them say it’s kind of nice because your credits don’t transfer from overseas most of the time,” she said, “so it’s better just not to have to worry about credits, so I just figured that’s one less thing I have to worry about when I’m there, trying to learn a different language.”
Although she doesn’t feel isolated, Lancey thinks it is unlike the she would have had if she were graduating as a senior.
“It’s a different feeling,” Lancey said. “I think that since all my friends are juniors I’m kind of the only one who’s in the position where I’m thinking about ‘Woah, I’m not coming back next year.’ There isn’t a lot of reminiscing about Rock Bridge and everything because everyone else is coming back.”
Lancey took personal finance, P.E. and creative writing during the summer, all which helped her to attain all the credits needed to graduate.
“Well, to fit all my classes in that I wanted to take; I always had to take classes online usually over the summer,” Lancey said. “When I came to feel like ‘Ok, now I need to graduate early,’ I actually didn’t have any classes to make up except for half of a credit of English and half of a credit of P.E. I didn’t really mean to, it just kind of happened.”
Overall, Lancey is excited for what the rotary has offered her.
“I just think it’s an amazing opportunity,” Lancey said. “I didn’t want to pass it up because I love, you know, language and travelling.”
Rachel Reed, a guidance counselor at RBHS, must deal with students in tough positions all the time. According to Reed, seniors who do not have enough credits to graduate must somehow earn that, before they can actually graduate. If the student is only missing one or a half credit, that student will most likely take summer school, and earn their diploma after they have completed their classes. Students can only receive one credit from summer school, so if they need more than one credit to graduate, the senior must come back.
Reed also says there are many options for a student who needs more than one credit to graduate.
“If a senior needs more than one credit in order to meet graduation requirements, they typically come back in the fall.  Some students choose to complete graduation requirements by taking online classes from an institution outside of CPS,” Reed said.  “While most seniors finish in summer school, there are multiple options and counselors work with students individually to come up with a plan that works best for that student.”
By Lauren Hofmann