When an Ending Also Means a New Beginning

By Alyssa Byers –

For some, it’s a celebration. For others, it’s an ending.

When a sport’s season comes to an end at Penn Manor, a senior night is held for each individual team to recognize the accomplishments and hard work of its senior members. Senior night is usually held at one of the last home games, meets, or matches. For parents and coaches, it’s a celebration of the effort and success of their kids and the team.

It can even be a celebration for the seniors themselves, but it’s also a reminder that their high school sports careers are coming to an end. For some students, it will be the last time they ever play their sport.

“Senior nights are kind of bittersweet. They are sad because it’s the last time you’ll be with your teammates and the last time you’ll play that sport in high school,” said senior athlete Maddy Hess, “but it’s exciting because it means you’re moving on to bigger and better things.”

The senior members of the girl's basketball team gather for a photo. Photo by Davor.

Hess plays field hockey, basketball and lacrosse for Penn Manor. She plans to attend Virginia Tech to play lacrosse. According to Hess, her lacrosse senior night will be her saddest and most memorable night, but she’s looking forward to it.

On senior night, each senior and the position they play are individually announced. The achievements of both team and player are listed. Most students feel a sense of pride at moments like these, but for some, it finally hits them.

“I was really excited about it, but it was kind of sad because it was the last time I’d wrestle in that gym,” said senior wrestler Bobby Rehm.

Each senior night has the same basic purpose, but teams often have certain traditions. In past years, the girl’s soccer team has had its junior members write poems for each of the seniors. Some teams celebrate with food.

The girls basketball team introduced its seniors, brought out their parents and presented each member with a rose, a card and a balloon. The celebration ended with cake for everyone.

Wrestling coach Steve Hess sees senior night as a sense of accomplishment and enjoys seeing how his players have grown.

Twelfth grader Hannah Willet has mixed feelings about her senior night.

“It’s like a recognition of all the hard work you’ve done, but then you also know that it’s kind of a goodbye,” said Willet.

Willet isn’t sure if she’s going to play soccer in college, but she knows this past season was the last time she’d play basketball.

The senior portion of the swim team. Photo by Davor.

It seems that for most students senior night brings excitement, but uneasiness follows close behind. Seniors are hopeful for the future and upset about the conclusion of their high school sports careers all at the same time.

Junior softball player Jenn Hanner knows how hard senior night can be for some, but she likes to see it as a night of recognition.

“You never want your friends to go, but you always want what’s best for them and this is a huge change in their lives, so you want them to feel good about moving forward. It’s sad, but it’s also a pretty proud night,” said Hanner.