Senior class paves the way to a new tradition


Claire LeDuc

Painting the letters of her parking spot, senior Paige Matthys-Pearce participates in painting day. Matthys-Pearce painted a starry background with a quote written in French, which says ‘don’t forget who you are.’ “I’m happy that I got to participate in this new tradition because I think it’s a great way for us seniors to leave a mark here, even though the spots will get painted over at the end of the year. Pulling into the colorful parking lot each morning brings me so much joy, and all the different designs highlight how unique everyone is,” Matthys-Pearce said. “Even though we sat under the sun in a hot parking lot for seven hours straight, it was a fun experience that I hope future classes will continue.”

Speeding into the parking lot at 7:29 a.m., the colorful variety of parking spots is probably the least of your worries, as you desperately try to avoid yet another tardy. These painted spots mark the beginning of a new tradition, as for the first time in school history, the senior class was able to decorate their parking spaces. Senior Claire LeDuc was motivated to start this senior year tradition after seeing other schools participating on social media. 

“I’ve always wanted to do it. We thought it was super cool and that it would bring personality to the school,” LeDuc said. “It really brings individuality for people.”

LeDuc says that this new tradition was the culmination of many hours spent planning and communicating. LeDuc and senior Lauren Beach spoke with the West Parent Organization (WPO) in June of the 2021 summer break. Then, the proposed painting had to go through approval by the senior class Principal Kate Piffel and Principal Jeremy Mitchell. After their idea was approved, the plans were communicated with the students. 

“It starts with an idea. It starts with a student,” LeDuc said. “I definitely learned to be open and communicative.”

Each student who painted a spot paid $30, and had to purchase paint and supplies. They also had to submit a design request form in order to be approved for their design. While there was some preparation involved, Piffel says that the administration is looking to offer more opportunities for the seniors to get involved in this year. 

“I think we’re trying to evolve. I love to be able to say yes to things within reason,” Piffel said. “Maybe it happened for a reason that it was my class, but I think [the seniors] did a really great job.”

Around 50 students painted spots the first day, but eventually another day was added due to more requests by students looking to paint a spot. 

“It was super exciting to see all of the excitement around it. It really shows individuality and their personality,” LeDuc said. “Some things that some people drew, I [thought] ‘wow, I never really knew that about you’. Or, some people, I [thought] ‘that’s so you’.”

During the painting day, LeDuc organized a Kona Ice truck and music. Many students had families join them, and set up lawn chairs during the event. 

Aerial photo of students working on their parking spots. (Claire LeDuc)

“It’s an awesome feeling to have all the families gather. On painting day, moms, dads and siblings were all there. It was a really good outdoor activity where people could reconnect before school starts and all talk about their designs. It was a really great student gathering, but also a great family gathering because we haven’t been able to do that in awhile,” LeDuc said.

Piffel agrees that the tradition was successful, and was glad that it could be accomplished, as it is something that she had wanted to start in the past.

“I loved the creativity. I think it gave [the] seniors a chance to show yourself, because it represents [them]. To see all of the different parking spaces was very, very cool and super creative,” Piffel said. “I’m glad we got to start off the year on a positive note and I hope we can keep that vibe going the whole year.”

LeDuc hopes that the tradition can continue in the upcoming years. As of now, the administration plans on keeping the tradition.  

“Before, it was kind of boring in the parking lot, but I think this adds an extra level. It’s something special that students can do every year, and I hope that it can be continued every year,” LeDuc said. “I’m super excited to see how it turns out over these next couple of years. Hopefully, they’ll follow through and keep doing it.”