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Upperclassmen Greet the Day with Senior Sunrise

Holy Innocents’ senior Patxi Risinger stood on the grass of Baker Field Wednesday morning. It was early – 6:45 to be exact – and he took in the sight of his 120-plus classmates all lounging, loitering, talking. “You know, usually when you tell me I have to get up at 6:15 in the morning, it’s just not happening. Today though, it was easy.”

He was referring to Senior Sunrise – an idea spawned by senior Kenidi Cook and planned out and executed by Director of Activities Carmen Weissman, a group of HIES upper school faculty and a host of parents. After the temperatures were checked, breakfast was served, a football field opened up and a group of seniors broke out.

“I actually got this idea from YouTube,” Kenidi said. “I was looking for a bunch of great things to do for seniors and I really like this one.” 

For the record, it had been five months and 21 days since these students congregated last on our campus. You know the stereotype assignment where the teacher asks you to tell what you did on your summer vacation? Well, these kids have had the equivalent of two-and-a-half months of a vacation.

The result? Their bodies and their chairs were socially distant, but their hearts were not. Even if one is an introverted soul, human contact is needed, therapeutic, with all due respect to Zoom of course.

“This is great, I’m just so loving this,” senior student/athlete and soccer scoring machine Caroline Belisle said. “It’s just so good to be back.”

At the breakfast line, Conor Swennumson perhaps had a couple of reasons to bulk up. Not only was he chowing and conversing, he stood only two days shy of the season football opener after a LONG preseason.

“I’m ready,” he said. “For this and for football.” And finally, after taking in his classmates on this field, some 48-hours-plus shy of kickoff, he offered this, “You know, this was a really good idea.”

It was, and it was taken to like iron to a magnet, moths to a flame, pick your metaphor, and the result was eager banter, laughter, bonding – not only due to being a senior - but simply for being here, period. 

In closing, this journalist approached senior Maggie Belenky for a comment. Maggie, a writer herself and co-editor in chief of our impressive Crimson & Gold magazine, did this when asked what she thought of what was going on.

Maggie simply looked around, took it all in, looked up and then she smiled. And she smiled really big.

And perhaps that was all that needed to be said.

- Dunn Neugebauer