Signifying the big leap into life after high school, the senior class at Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Towson took a synchronized plunge into the school’s swimming pool on May 16.
Cami Colarossi, the school’s director of communications, couldn’t pinpoint the exact origin of the tradition but believes it dates to the late 1980′s and is something the students look forward to as part of a series of celebratory milestones leading up to graduation.
The pool jump followed the Senior Farewell Liturgy, another cherished tradition at Notre Dame that marks the last all-Upper School liturgy of the school year. Call to worship was given by social studies teacher and honorary senior class member Anne Printz. Celebrant Monsignor Rob Jaskot presided over the liturgy. Campus Minister Libby Keady, Vocal Music Director Stacey Bilenki, and the student liturgy band helped make it a truly special event for the girls.
Seniors were allowed to forego their standard blue-and-white dress uniform and saddle shoes and instead wear their royal blue gym tunics and T-shirts in their class colors (for the Class of 2022, the colors were blue and red) for the liturgy celebration. In closing, the faculty and staff encircled the girls to offer a collective special blessing.
After liturgy, underclasswomen presented each senior with a basket full of collected personal letters and words of appreciation and encouragement from friends and teachers. In addition, each senior received back a letter she had written to her future self as a freshman, to be able to reflect on how much growth and change has happened since her earliest days at Notre Dame Prep. Many tears were shed by seniors and underclassmen alike.
In a final act of solidarity on dry land before splashdown, the girls formed a circle and sang their class farewell song from Gym Meet (which is arguably the biggest Notre Dame spirit event each year, held each March, when the grades choose themes and compete against each other). Following the song, senior class President Derin Aderoju gave the countdown to the jump, and in they all plunged, with much screaming, cheering, and giggling!
“I had watched seniors for years jump in the pool after senior liturgy, but actually getting to experience it myself with our class blew away every expectation,” said senior Rylan Sachs, who earned the coveted White Blazer Award as well as the school’s General Academic Excellence Award. “I still get chills watching the video—everyone was in a state of pure joy.”
The liturgy and pool jump were followed in rapid succession by exams, graduation practices, senior prom, mother-daughter brunch, baccalaureate service, and then big event graduation itself on May 25. These 137 newly minted grads may be done with Hampton Lane, but they are more than ready to go forth and transform the world. Congratulations!