Would you believe me if I told you the senior class is being controlled by a secret society? Well, not really, but sort of.
The senior selection committee is a group of 13 people that decide various parts of senior year. They have a major impact on the senior class, yet nobody seems to notice.
Graduation, senior superlatives, even the class motto is controlled by the senior selection committee, yet nobody wonders who might be behind these efforts. But the committee isn’t just students. The committee is supervised by Assistant Principal Jason Reinecke. “Really I’ve got a 15,000 foot view [of the committee]. I’m just here to help with the bigger things, like the gift and speaker,” Reinecke said.
So who is there to help with the smaller projects? The class of 2018 advisors Cherylyn Weyhmiller and Scot Ziegenfelder. A large amount of what they and the student members of the committee do is often overlooked by the senior class, which is unfortunate for those selected to be a part of the committee because they put in a lot of work before graduation.
Every year the committee is held to a similar timeline. Their first project is simple: decide on a class motto, flower, and song, then design the graduation announcement letter that is sent to invitees of graduation. At least, this task seems simple. Who knew how opinionated 13 teenagers would be about what quote best encompassed the entire class? In the end, the committee chose an uplifting quote from Winnie the Pooh: “Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.” Peonies are the class flower and this year’s class song is “I Will Always Remember You” by Hannah Montana.
The committees next job? Design and distribute the senior class shirt before the homecoming pep assembly. During their early morning meetings, the committee views and votes on designs submitted by other students and drafts their own designs as well. Once the day of the assembly rolls around, the committee sets up camp in the auxiliary gym and hands out shirts to members of the senior class who paid their senior fee on time. With that task complete, the committee gets a few well deserved days off. But then they get right back into the action.
The committee gets to pick the categories for senior superlatives. This is the most well known duty of the selection committee. In late March, Senior Oscar Night recognizes the winners of each category. Student Senate takes control of this event, planning the night at the Performing Art Center. After the votes are counted, the committee’s job is done.
Another responsibility is to choose a class gift. In years past, gifts have included water bottle filling stations, murals, and most recently a pavilion in the center of the tennis court complex. This year’s gift is still up in the air. Seeing as the committee’s budget isn’t too large, don’t expect a new football stadium next year.
To cap off the year, the senior selection committee gets to choose the graduation speaker and organize the senior breakfast. The speaker is often a West Ottawa graduate, and generally they need to have been out in the real world for at least a few years. This year’s speaker is Gina Kim. Kim graduated from West Ottawa in 2011 and then from Harvard University in 2015. The committee will be taking Kim out to dinner before graduation.
For current juniors interested in joining the committee their senior year, keep your eyes peeled for an email from administration in early September. For those who would rather assist the committee than hold a seat, there will be multiple opportunities to share thoughts with the committee.