When you rely on high school seniors for wisdom on the path ahead or reflection on the steps already taken, be prepared for some bumps in the road – a not-so-wise education reporter.
Two senior quotes that made it to print in the Boca Raton High School yearbook prompted a recall of the annual tome this month and, at least for now, spell the end to senior quotes moving forward.
Principal Susie King said despite the editing process, two bits of ill-advised reflection got by – one quote was sexual in nature, the other made references to drugs. The mistakes and the effort it takes to keep them out of the book is not worth it, she said in an email to The Palm Beach Post.
Not every school in the county permits seniors to say a few words. Forest Hill High does. Suncoast doesn’t. Like Boca Raton High, Dreyfoos School of the Arts did – but students say they’ve been told next year it won’t.
District officials say it’s up to schools and their principals to make that call.
Mary Stratos, principal at Forest Hill High, likes a good quote as long as it holds with the school’s code – no condescension, no sex, no drugs. “I plan to continue as long as appropriate precautions are in place.”
Stratos’s favorite missive this year came from senior Natalie Abreu quoted The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
While Abreu tapped literature, other class of 2017 alum in Palm Beach County went the pop culture route, quoting everyone from Spongebob Squarepants – “You will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – to Justin Bieber, “I don’t recall.”
Megan Hostetler, a junior at Dreyfoos, said the senior quote is a rite of passage she and her friends have been preparing for since they arrived as freshmen, “Every single funny thing you say, it would be like, ‘Oh, ha ha. Keep that for your senior quote.’ “
Hostetler said she was thinking of quoting herself and referencing her gift for gab: “You don’t need to understand me to listen.”
Now her focus will be on the artsy “signature” students can design to go with their yearbook photo. But she’ll miss the quote.
And who can’t appreciate un bon mot?
The best of senior quotes everywhere
Tuesday Dermagosian noted for all: “Yes I was born on a Tuesday. No, my brother’s names aren’t Wednesday and Monday.”
Omotola Omotnugbon summed up her gradeschool experience: “I’ve learned to say here when the teacher hesitates while taking attendance.”
Or this from Jenna Allen: “When I die, I want the people I did group projects with to lower me into the ground so they can let me down one last time.”
Much closer to home, at Treasure Coast High in Port St. Lucie, senior Savanna Tomlinson got the most distance in the media with her sign off: “Anything is possible when you sound Caucasian on the phone.” The line did not play well, however, with her mom, according to the young black woman’s Twitter feed: “Update: My Mom is furious that I put that as my quote LMAO.”
Parental wrath is strong when the senior quotes go awry, referencing drugs, alcohol, sex and race.
A mom in Texas is threatening a lawsuit after the young man whose yearbook mug sits just to the right of her son’s used his quote to insert an arrow to his classmate’s name with the words “dis man is ugly.”
Back in Boca Raton, no one was disciplined in the matter of the rogue words, principal King said. The students said they didn’t submit those quotes and the school couldn’t be certain who was responsible, she said.
The offending quotes prompted a recall of the 843 yearbooks sold. All but about 100 came back, principal King reports. At first, the entries were covered by stickers, but in the end the school shipped 468 back to the publisher to have the pages replaced.