A Night in the Senior Green Key

Seniors Kayla Jiang, Ethan Zhang, Annie Cui, Olivia Tagg and Kate Schulze at The Gauntlet

A wave of pungent dust floats through the room as seniors trickle into the dying embers of a quiet Saturday-night Green Key. Empty soda cans decorate the dimly lit room, reminiscent of the students that once occupied the basement. The music beats on—a lifeline. It fights to keep the room alive. The glassy eyes of seniors wander through the room as several congregate around an ongoing pool match.

It is not always like this. A quick flip through previous records prove that Green Keys have the potential to rally the community, but, much like children reveling in their first chance to stay up an hour past bedtime, the Green Key no longer elicits what it used to. Now, with the first wave of college applications on their way—and more supplemental essays to go—seniors chase that same feeling, but come up empty.

Tonight, it is Halloween-eve-but it feels no different from any other Saturday night; the Green Key opens from 11:00-12:00 for a handful of seniors to enjoy their senior privileges while Assistant Head of School Dr. Kent and Mrs. Spano supervise the final hour.

It was not always this way. In 2006, Scott Sondles, Assistant Director of Facilities, led a Green Key renovation of the space with one thing in mind: “somewhere kids can wind down.” The facilities were tailored towards the students who helped Mr. Sondles first renovate it over a decade ago. Since he graduated in 2013, Mr. Polak has noticed a significant shift in the perception of senior Green Keys. Mr. Polak bragged about senior Green Key as “the place on Friday nights.” In reference to those first renovations, Mr. Polak believed that modernizing the facilities by tailoring them to current seniors would improve turnout. “Seniors don’t want to play air hockey straight out of an ancient generation,” answered Mr. Polak.

Arthur Johnson ’22, attended senior Green Key that night. Arthur recalls his first experience discovering senior Green Keys, stating that back when he was a freshmen, seniors “gathered once a month on a Friday to organize a small catering service that drew a lot of seniors to the Green Key,” such as Taco Bell or Swensons. At the time, class deans organized this for the seniors. Arthur indicates that senior Green Key’s underlying issue is a “lack of participation.” He concludes, “Seniors pride themselves on their spirit for WRA, I anticipate WRA will reciprocate those feelings with some positive changes to the senior experience.”

Benjamin Sindell ’22

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