The Class of 2017 is like a family that has celebrated the good times and pulled together during the hard times, according to the student body president Samuel Littauer.

The soon-to-be graduates have emphasized unity while avoiding the cliques so familiar to high school life, Littauer said.

“Our class has such a tight bond,” Littauer said. “We really are a family, and we’ve given our all to West Henderson for the past four years.”

Senior class president Jackson Whiting believes the seniors’ love for their school is what has united them.

“The senior class has proved themselves to be one of the most spirited groups of students with their mass involvement and explosive voices at sporting events,” Whiting said. “Their spirit has had an effect on the whole school. It’s contagious. The spirited student section reflects on the love and pride students have toward their school.”

The tradition of success is what inspired the Class of 2017, Whiting said.

“I think you’re kind of brought into this school with the idea that you have the potential to be the best you can because you go to this school,” he said. “I think we, as a student body, are more motivated as students, as athletes and as supporters of other sports. I think just our overall love of West is what makes West Henderson so great. I mean, if you don’t love your school, you don’t want to see your school do its very best, whereas I think we do.”

Littauer and Whiting contributed their leadership to the class, bringing the students together for unified events.

“We are a more connected class,” senior Rachel Gillette said. “I think that has to do a lot with Samuel Littauer because he plans a lot of events for us where everybody hangs out. I know a lot of times you just see the athletes doing something together, or the band people doing something together, but we tend to just — all of us — do something. I just think that we’re more of what you think of when you think of seniors. We’re more of leaders.”

The 251 members of the Class of 2017 will receive diplomas at 7:30 p.m. on June 9 in Johnson Stadium, weather permitting. In the event of rain, the ceremony will  be moved into the new gym.

In a recent Wingspan survey of 164 seniors, more than 91 percent said they were optimistic about their own futures.

“We’re really passionate,” senior Anna Allmond said. “It’s something that I’ve noticed that not a lot of other classes have. They don’t have the passion and the optimism for the future. We’re all very motivated, whether it be in school, out of school or any of the stuff that we’re doing. We really want to achieve success.”

Yet this positive outlook was nearly cut in half with only 52 percent of the seniors surveyed saying that they were optimistic for the country’s future. But not all students were worried with this outcome.

“I think that just has to do with your political spectrum, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat,” Whiting said. “I think that’s just the easiest way to explain that. Most people when they’re answering that question are thinking about the president, whether they support him or not. I think that’s going to be split whatever class you go to. When you’re thinking about the country as a whole, you’re not really thinking about the Class of 2017 at West Henderson.”

The memories that the seniors have made in their past four years at West will stay with them         long after graduation comes and goes.

“We won conference my freshman year in softball or when we went undefeated in volleyball my sophomore season,” Gillette said. “We went 22-0 and never had to play a third set because you have to win two out of three. It was pretty cool because it really set the tone for the past two years of volleyball.”

The art programs at West have also made a big impact on the Class of 2017, from art in the classroom to being on stage and capturing the attention of the audience. The opportunities presented at the school were appreciated and will be missed by all.

“I’ll miss the theater and arts department the most,” senior Hope Robinson said. “I’ve always helped Mrs. (Resi) Dolbee and Mrs. (Kelly)Cooper with any productions. I love being in theater and helping with the technical side of things.”

This effort and passion have pushed the Class of 2017 to finish the school year strong. They are ready to kick off the summer and relax before starting back up as freshmen in their first year of college.

“All in,” was what Whiting used to describe his past four years at West.

“In everything we’ve done, no matter what, I don’t think anyone can disagree that we’ve faced a little bit of crap the past years,” Whiting said. “We’ve had people get fired and what not, but I think we go all in with everything we do. We go all in with football games, with basketball games, with fundraisers, with campus clean-ups. With everything we do we give 100 percent, and I think we can graduate and walk across that stage resting on the fact that we gave everything we had in four years here and we didn’t leave anything left.”

By: Khalil Balanay and Emily Mertz

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