Local

South Pointe seniors going out the way they came in -- on top

South Pointe High School students sit in the senior section of the cafeteria at lunch Wednesday on the first day of the new school year. This year's graduating class will be the school's first.
South Pointe High School students sit in the senior section of the cafeteria at lunch Wednesday on the first day of the new school year. This year's graduating class will be the school's first.

The aspirations of seniors at South Pointe High School are typical: homecoming, prom, graduation, college.

But the seniors of South Pointe are different. They've been the top dogs since the school opened in 2005.

This will be the first year South Pointe has a graduating class.

The high school experience for those 280 or so students has been normal in many ways, but also unique.

"It's been kind of weird because it's not your typical high school experience where you're the baby, then you're the middle, then you're the oldest," senior Chantelle Getty said.

Principal Al Leonard recognized that difference from the start.

"I made the promise to them that I would treat them as seniors for three years," he said.

And with being a senior came extra responsibility.

Leonard formed a group of about 30 student leaders before the school opened in 2005 to serve as liaisons to the adult staff. The group met with administrators to share ideas about what they wanted their school to be like.

"I thought it was important to help them transition and also to help us make better decisions," Leonard said. "A lot of times as adults, we think we have all the answers, but unless we see things from a student perspective, we may miss out on some things."

Leonard said South Pointe seniors have had more leadership opportunities throughout high school than they might have had anywhere else. As underclassmen, they didn't have to compete with older students for leadership roles in student groups.

Being the oldest also meant they set the example for younger students.

"When we came here, we didn't have any seniors to look at, so we had to remember from our old schools," senior Najee Sutton said.

Many of this year's seniors each spent a year at one of the district's other two high schools before coming to South Pointe as sophomores.

They knew they were being watched.

"We were the role models for three years," Katie Peterson said.

"When new freshmen come in and act good, it's a good reflection on seniors," Sutton added.

Being a senior always has its perks, but for South Pointe's first graduating class, it might be a little sweeter.

Seniors this year will have special parking passes, a special place to sit in the cafeteria and will get out of class for lunch a few minutes early.

Plans are being squared away for the school's first homecoming celebration, and this will be the first year there will be seniors on varsity sports teams.

Students said things at South Pointe are starting to feel complete.

"We're finally going to have all four grades and be a real high school," senior Kami Cannon said. "A lot of traditions will be made this year."

  Comments