First annual Senior Appreciation Assembly held

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First annual Senior Appreciation Assembly held

MOVING TO THE BEAT Two members of Downbeat sing together during their performance at the Senior Assembly. The assembly also featured performances by Varsity Dance and the Jazz Band.

MOVING TO THE BEAT Two members of Downbeat sing together during their performance at the Senior Assembly. The assembly also featured performances by Varsity Dance and the Jazz Band.

Kaity Gee

MOVING TO THE BEAT Two members of Downbeat sing together during their performance at the Senior Assembly. The assembly also featured performances by Varsity Dance and the Jazz Band.

Kaity Gee

Kaity Gee

MOVING TO THE BEAT Two members of Downbeat sing together during their performance at the Senior Assembly. The assembly also featured performances by Varsity Dance and the Jazz Band.

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“Shocked,” “Bittersweet,” and “Happy.”

These were some of the adjectives that members of the senior class used to describe their state of mind as the Upper School held its first annual Senior Appreciation Assembly today in the gym at 1:40 p.m.

Students convened in the gym to listen to musical performances, watch a mock debate, and express support for the senior class. More importantly, it served as the “last hurrah” from the school for the Class of 2014.

Leaving Office and Swinging to the Beat

“Alright everybody, quiet down. Alright, thank you!” said Arjun Goyal (12) in his final address to the school as ASB President; the restless murmurings of the students quickly quieted down. “Welcome to the first annual senior rally!”

Goyal stated that the new assembly was meant to be an official send-off for the class of 2014. Standing in front of the school, he imparted some advice to fellow students, hoping that his fellow seniors would “revel” in these moments.

“[I] hope that you will enjoy your time here, but [also] look forward to new experiences too,” Goyal said to the school. The audience erupted into laughter as he proceeded to quote Natasha Bedingfield’s song “Unwritten”, stating that “today is where your book begins.”

Goyal then turned over the stage to the Jazz Band awaiting on stage, which launched into the song “Crusin’ for a Bluesin”. At different points in the song, band seniors stood up from their seats in succession to perform solo parts for the Upper school one last time, garnering cheers and clapping from the audience.

Preserving Honor and a State of the Upper School Debate

After the applause for the jazz performance subsided, senior members of the NHS arrived to symbolically pass the pillars of the community to the future NHS presidential candidates. Sohil Patel (10), Apoorva Rangan (11), and Helen Wu received the pillars of Service, Scholarship, and Character from the departing seniors.

Having passed on the pillars of leadership, NHS members gave up the stage to debate teacher Carol Green and the two teams of students behind her. Green announced the 2014 State of the School debate, for which students would decide the outcome by voting.

“The question before us is resolved,” Green said. “Harker will miss the class of 2014.”

Leon Chin (11) then presented his contentions that the seniors would be missed, followed by an opposition by Avik Wadhwa (11). In his opposition, Avik joked that with their success, the seniors “set us up for failure worse than when Mr. Hudkins took down HHMS,” referencing the college acceptance achievements of the seniors. Leon and Avik followed up with an equally lighthearted cross-examination, bantering about missing each other as seniors.

“Are we friends?” said Avik during the cross-examination.

“Possibly,” Leon said.

In pairs, the debaters battled out the argument, drawing both “awww”’s and uproarious laughter from the community. At the end of the mock debate, Shikhar Dixit (11) called for the vote, which drew mixed responses from students, and Green thanked the team for their performance.

A Coronation Ceremony

Sporting yellow, thin cardboard crowns, the Class Council of 2014 took the stage next. One by one, the officers called up future senior class council members and stated their responsibilities before passing the crown to them.

“Nikhil, you are faced with collecting everyone’s money for the senior gift,” said Samir Chaudhry (12) as Nikhil Reddy (11) knelt before him. “Good luck with that.”

Having given away of their crowns, the departing seniors gave their luck to the rising class council, joking “God have mercy on your soul”.

I Am Ready

As the newly crowned class council members left the stage, the green curtain drew back to reveal the Varsity Dance Troupe standing blindfolded and rigid in formation. As the wild applause subsided and the first notes of Counting Crows’ “Colorblind” sounded from the speakers, the dancers leapt into action, referencing the song’s title and lyrics (“I am blind”) by performing with their eyes obscured. The dancers removed their blindfolds as the song approached its chorus, flipping them above their eyes at the lyric “I am fine.”

Appropriately, the lyric “I am ready” was repeated multiple times in the song. Math teacher Anthony Silk stated that he had gotten to know many of the seniors and enjoy their company.

“I’m sad to see them go, but on the other hand, I’m happy to see them heading off to college and all the great experiences they’re about to have,” Silk said.

An Eagle Update and a Jedi Initiation

After the dancers struck their final pose at the end the song, members of the senior class delivered one last Eagle Update to the student body. The update highlighted the achievements of seniors specifically and listed noted accomplishments of Upper School Students. Finally, the seniors asked the students to “put their eagles up” by folding their hands to mimic an Eagle’s wings.

Members of the ASB took the stage once more to pass on their responsibilities to the newly elected ASB.

“And now comes a time for a new rule to be announced!” said Goyal. Armed with a plastic lightsaber, he called on newly elected ASB president Sarah Bean (11) to kneel before him.

“I proclaim thee protector of the realm…holder of the valerian microphone, and ender of school meetings,” said Arjun as he tapped Sarah on the shoulder with his lightsaber.

Similarly, Shiki Dixit was declared “Lord of Light”, Fred Chang was labelled as an “Emissary to Lower School Babies”, and David Lin, who was absent from the assembly due to an AP Spanish Test, was dubbed in spirit as “Master of Coin”.

Down the Beaten Path

Following the initiation of new ASB members, Downbeat delivered the final musical performance of the afternoon. Clad in blue dresses and shirts, members of Downbeat performed a spirited rendition of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”. As with Jazz band, senior members of Downbeat met with applause as they sang their solo parts. Following this, Jazz band also sang the Beatles’ hit “Hello Goodbye” before taking a bow together.

After Downbeat’s performance, students watched a farewell video for the seniors. Students and senior class advisors thanked the seniors and offered advice about their future in college.

“Continue to be who you are,” US history teacher Damon Halback said. He remembers building a shrine with some of the seniors to an imaginary deity in his classroom that almost reached the ceiling.

“Try everything. Eat everything,” World History teacher Mark Janda said. He recalled an incident when an advisee mistook dolphins for sharks during the Junior Class Kayaking trip.

Passing on the Torch

Assistant Head of School Jennifer Gargano stated that the Senior Appreciation Assembly was an official wishing of good luck from the entire student body.

“We have many events where we send off the seniors and give them our…farewells, but we haven’t previously had an assembly where the whole student body gets to do so,” Gargano said. “This is the students’ opportunity to thank the seniors for the leadership and wish them well as they move on to college and the rest of their wonderful lives.”

Freshmen, Juniors, and Seniors were dismissed first from the gym, while Seniors and teachers were asked to stay behind to interact with each other.

Alone in the gym, many seniors talked to teachers; couples held hands and friends hugged. The Class of 2014 was an hour closer to graduation.