They started in the cafeteria, portable classrooms and small gyms. They ended in professional studios and massive practice halls not knowing six years later they would be under Friday night lights for the last time.
Senior night was held on November 5 as a way to commemorate the senior class and give them one last chance to walk the field before graduating. Contributors to Friday night lights had the opportunity to be recognized with their family members for all to see before the game.
The class of 2022 is at the beginning of the end, and the night was an opportunity to look back on the time spent in high school and look in the future for the life that awaits them after graduation.
“I think the importance of senior night is just showing how you’ve been here for four years, and you’ve worked so hard to get here and just proving how much you’ve worked for it and going into college,” senior cheerleader Faith Williamson said. “Senior night means a lot to me because I’ve worked super hard to get to where I’m going, my dream school, Baylor. I’m going to miss the people and the energy that goes on in Friday night lights. I’m so close with everyone here, and it’s going to be hard not seeing them every single day.”
A mix of band members, cheerleaders, sweethearts and AFJROTC students were recognized with their loved ones before the game. These students got to pick people with impacts on their life to share some of their last steps with them for their final Friday night lights.
“I walked with my mom and my grandpa,” senior AFJROTC member Kierstyn Helmer said. “They were always big influences on me as a child, and I always wanted to be like them. It just really hit me that it was out last time on the field. It made me realize I was really leaving.”
Although it was mainly a group experience, everyone had their own take on the night and what it meant to them. Some were looking back on their days as a Wildkat while others looked forward to the coming journey.
“I felt more relieved and happy that it was coming to an end,” senior band member Mason Trahan said. “I’m going to college in Florida, and I just want to go there already and live my dream.”
Freshmen are told every year that four years goes by in the blink of an eye, but they don’t think much of it until it is almost over.
“I have always bonded really well with my team and it made me sad because I’m going to go to miss the team and dancing on the field,” senior sweetheart Abigail McNew said. “If I could talk to all of the little freshmen, I would tell them to really cherish every moment that they have because it really goes by fast.”
Senior night may be the start of the end, but there is more to life than time in high school. Students are moving on to trade school, the military, workforce and college and are trying to fit in their final days of being a teenager.
“My dad and my mom were walking me, and I just felt like it was the ending to a chapter but the starting of a new beginning,” senior cheerleader Madi McCollum said. “It’s very sad and emotional, but at the same time, you’re looking forward to all of the things in the future to come. I’ll be a fourth-generation Aggie, and so if I go there, it will be super cool to experience all of the things my mom got to.”
To conclude the night, seniors linked pinkies for the last time for the school song and walked arm in arm down the field.
“We all were able to walk side by side all together, and even though we might not all like each other, we got to share that experience together,” senior AFJROTC member Jay Olvera. “I think being with the people and sharing that time together is something I’ll always remember.”
Cheer has brought school spirit to the stands and field from the same spot on the track for years. It is home to them and will be cherished as forever memories.
“This night meant no more Friday night lights,” senior cheerleader Ava Semler said. “I mean we’re going to playoffs but this was the last time that we’re ever going to be on this track cheering for our team, and it meant the world to us. Just being with everyone meant everything. It’s such a bittersweet moment because we all know we’re going to go off and do great things but we have to savor the rest of these moments.”