Seniors line up to say last goodbyes, create memories at Yates Stadium


photo or infographic by Hayleigh Brawley

A HAPPY ENDING. At the last home game of football season, senior Katie Leggett smiles as she is escorted down the track by her parents. Leggett has been a part of the cheer team since her freshman year at Willis High School.

ARM IN ARM. Walking with his parents, senior Abraham Fonti-Kanu is recognized during senior night. (photo or infographic by Hayleigh Brawley)

The lights hum and shine a bright light. Students line up and lock arms with one another. The cold, crisp air sends a message to the current seniors of Willis High School: Their last football season is fixing to come to a close as they exit the gates of Berton A. Yates stadium.

Last Friday, October 28, the senior class of 2023 walked onto the turf after the football game to say their last goodbyes to Friday night lights under the Willis sky. It was an emotional moment knowing that it was their last year as students in the small town they call home. 

CHEERING FOR THE SENIORS. As part of senior night, senior cheerleader Chloe Henderson wears special bow and sash. The seniors also cheered with a parent as part of the senior night. (photo or infographic by Hayleigh Brawley)

“It was relieving, but at the same time it was emotional,” senior Brody Calltharp said. “You realize that these are the friends that will stay with you for the rest of your life.”

Naturally, there are all of the emotional, sad moments knowing that life after high school is fastly approaching, but there are also sighs of relief from the students that put in the work to get to that moment to look back.

“I was nervous and excited, but also kind of happy,” senior Kori-Elise Rushing said.

The weather may have been a little bit on the sad side of things, but the rain and cold added to the experience for some students.

“I was cold because of the rain, but I think that added to the fun of it,” senior Kolby Sebastian said. “We were all cold and dancing in the rain together, it was fabulous.”

Creating a moment for oneself is a vastly different experience than watching other people do the same thing before them.

“It was very interesting, even though I have seen my friends do it a dozen times before,” Rushing said. “It was very interesting to finally have my own moment for myself.”