Senior Sunrise Marks the Beginning of Seniors’ Last First Day of High School


Senior Mairenn Blest and Kenly Howerter sit on the Ida Lee field as they watch the sunrise. At approximately 6:45 a.m. seniors met at the Ida Lee Recreation Center to celebrate their last first day of high school and watch the sunrise. (Photo courtesy of Kenly Howerter)

To kick off the start of the class of 2022’s last year of high school, senior Kenly Howerter and Jiya Manalel coordinated the senior sunrise in a vacant field at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center. “It was really important to me to make my last first day of school memorable,” senior Charlotte Penberthy said. “So this was a really fun opportunity for me to commemorate that.”

The senior sunrise was a non-school sponsored event coordinated by students to get together before their final year. “In previous school years, the PTSA were in charge of this event, but chose not to host it this year,” Howerter said. “Jiya and I had so many people asking us about the activity, so we just went ahead and planned it ourselves.” 

Manalel and Howerter promoted this event by creating Instagram pages and posting through their personal social media pages. To encourage participation, other senior class members also reposted this information on their accounts. “We were uncertain what the turn out would look like because there was no signup sheet and it was organized at the last minute,” Howerter said. “But we had about thirty-five students who showed up and we all got to enjoy the sunrise together.”

Students who attended the senior sunrise were told to bring their own breakfast and any other equipment they would need to watch the sunrise, such as blankets and lawn chairs. “I drove myself and met up with my friends, then we all sat on the front lawn,” Penberthy said. “We got the best view of the sunrise; it happened pretty slowly and it seemed like every minute that went by the sunrise got even prettier.”

Howerter and Manalel indicated that this experience was significant because they got to make an impact on the student body without the help or affiliation to the school. “That morning felt like an introduction for me as President of the Student Council Association,” Howerter said. “Organizing something that means something to our class and making it happen was really important to me.”

The two student council members also expressed their interest in correlating an end of the year event, similar to the sunrise. “I think it would be really cool to do a big senior barbeque once we are all in Captains’ Outreach,” Howerter said. “I’d love to have one last experience with our peers to have a day filled with fun and eating.”