Class of 2017 demonstrates unity during Senior Parade

The Senior Parade is a coveted annual tradition at Hollis Brookline High School.

Each class waits out their three years in anticipation for the chance to take part in the event that has distinguished true HB seniors across generations.

This year, the Class of 2017 brought out all of the stops, with decorated cars, blaring air horns and even a confetti cannon provided by Kyle Chrystal and Nathan Buckley.

"I was told by some teachers that it was the best parade they’ve seen," Class President Caitlin Ross said.

The Senior Parade has taken place each year for at least 10 years. English teacher Michael Fox noted that some years are better than others, but this year’s celebration stood out from the rest.

He went on to say that the Senior Parade sets a precedent for that class’s last year of high school.

Fox recalled that in 2015, he was asked to speak at graduation, and he made a point of starting off his speech with a description of that class’ senior parade. He wrote:

"I struggle to describe it to you, but try this: Three cars, two honking, one horn seemingly not working, short pause; one car, honking, looking for company, long pause; eventually four cars, all honking except for one perplexed mom who somehow got into the mix. … If it had an order, it was the order of a child attempting to herd a slew of kittens into a laundry basket. This is the picture I watched through the windows of my classroom and I thought, ‘This is going to be an interesting year.’ "

Contrary to that year’s seniors, Fox said the Class of 2017’s parade was more organized. He recognized that they saw the value of the tradition and what it means for their class.

The appreciation of this tradition could be felt all morning, as the upcoming graduates gathered in the parking lot of Nichols Field to take pictures. The seniors shared fun memories of Spirit Weeks, club activities and in-class experiences.

Soon, the class members hopped into their vehicles and filed out of the field, honking and yelling. As they turned in to the high school, they passed a crowd of adoring parents. They waved to teachers and envious students who peered out of classroom windows. And when the parade did not continue for a second lap, the seniors were fine with it – most of them wanted to get to class.

"I think any tradition is important," Fox said. "It sets the seniors apart, and says something unique about their status in the school. It’s one of those many rites of passage: You get your license, you apply to college, you take part in the Senior Parade. It creates a sense of unity."

If Fox is right and this parade has set the tone for the coming year, the Class of 2017’s last hurrah should be their best school year yet.

This column was written by Nicole Poitras, a senior at Hollis Brookline High School. She was among 51 high school journalists representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C., who attended the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference in Washington in June.