Why are the first always given the worst?

Current NHS seniors stressed about graduation location


By now, every senior at Neshaminy High School is wondering the same thing: Where are we going to graduate? In Nov., when construction on the football stadium began, we were told it’d be ready for our graduation. As the months pass and the date creeps closer, we’re not so sure.

We’ve been informed that graduating in the football stadium is still Plan A, but that the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J., has been reserved as Plan B.

There are three reactions to this news: “I really hope we graduate at NHS”, “I don’t care where we graduate”, and “I don’t want to graduate at NHS”.

For the group of students who want to graduate at our NHS stadium, we get you. 

The Class of 2023 has been the first for many things. First to go to middle school in fifth grade, first to have a freshman year cut in half by a pandemic, first to have sophomore year entirely on Zoom, and we don’t want to be first again. We don’t want to be the first seniors at NHS to graduate in a stadium that’s not our own.

When we were only 10 years old, we had to take on the responsibility of graduating elementary school alongside the fifth graders, even though no one had a clue what they were going to do with us in middle school. Once we got there, it was chaos. We were elementary school kids taking on an environment that wasn’t equipped for our needs. We were kept isolated from most of the other grade levels and treated like we were inferior to the older kids instead of being given the fifth grade treatment we expected as the oldest elementary school grade. We started to be seen as the number five instead of the scared kids that we really were. 

But we got through it. 

When we first stepped into the huge, unfamiliar building that was NHS in August of 2019, we had no idea of the trials and tribulations that we were about to endure. Getting the first emails that we were going virtual for two weeks was scary. We didn’t know that those two weeks would change the entire course of our high school careers. Although every grade level went through a similar experience, having to deal with the shift in our first year of high school was emotionally and physically draining.
Surviving all of the obstacles that have been thrown in our paths has united us as a class. We’ve all experienced the same monumental life events and it’s only right that we are together at our high school to graduate and move onto the next chapter of our lives. 

Even if we get to graduate in our stadium, everything about Heartbreak Ridge that we’ve grown with throughout our four years here will have been replaced. No matter where we end up graduating this year, it will not be the same as every other grade in the past.

Heartbreak Ridge has been a staple in NHS students’ lives since way before they actually attended. Even as middle schoolers, many of us went to football games and were slowly introduced to the culture before getting to experience it as our own. We’ve shown it to our friends from other schools and siblings that would eventually grow into the same traditions we pride ourselves on as NHS students. 

Graduating in the stadium of your high school is the way it should be. We’re celebrating what we have accomplished during our years in the Neshaminy School District, just like all of the other seniors before us. So how can we be expected to graduate anywhere else? How can the Class of 2023 be properly honored without being at the school that made us who we are?