Artwork courtesy of Eli Cantor
High schoolers are constantly evolving. We’re always changing our image, interests, friends and other little things that make us who we are. Most high schoolers wouldn’t even recognize their freshman year selves because of the drastic changes they’ve made to their character throughout high school. When the yearbooks come out and the seniors take a look at their portraits, many of them find their portraits unrecognizable; their hair may have been a different color, they may have had different interests, or they may have been going through a tough time when the shot was taken. Eventually, the teenager has changed and is generally not the same person in the photo. Senior portraits should not be taken junior year, as they usually portray a different image of the high school senior.
When asked if he felt like he had changed over the past year, Mamaroneck High School senior Jason Stein responded, “Oh absolutely.” He claims that from freshman to senior year he has changed tremendously. This is the case for most students, as high school is a time for teens to discover who they are and experiment with different identities. A lot of the time, we’ll look back at our former selves and think, “I can’t believe I was ever like that,” and have feelings of regret. Many are embarrassed by their younger selves, and hope that those awkward and strange characters never resurface. Unfortunately, these different, and occasionally embarrassing, versions of ourselves resurface in our senior portraits that are taken a school year too early.
Many students at Mamaroneck High School think it’s strange to have had their senior portrait already taken before they finish their junior year. Chloe, a junior, commented, “It’s definitely weird having to take my senior portrait. It’s kind of scary to think I’m gonna be a senior in a few months.” Taking a senior portrait as a junior shows that the school is already preparing for the next graduation, even though it’s over a year away. Chloe also said, “it just feels like I›m basically a senior already.” Having a senior portrait taken as a junior also puts pressure on the student and makes them feel like they’re done with junior year. At the time, the junior is probably stressing over upcoming finals, SATs, and APs. Taking a picture for next year makes the burdens of being a firstsemester senior seem much closer than they actually are and adds to the already-high stress levels of the student.
Living in the moment is important to many high schoolers. Students want others to know who they are at the time, not someone they used to be. So why have our school’s senior portraits be outdated versions of students? Even though you really only see a cap and gown in a senior portrait, it’s obvious that the students have evolved when comparing their present day selves to their past. So instead of taking senior portraits in the spring as juniors, why not take them in the fall when the students are actually seniors? At this time of the year not only will students have a nice tan from the summer, but their picture will be a more accurate depiction of their senior selves. After all, senior portraits are for seniors, right?
By Lindsey Randall
Ms. Scheffler, the yearbook advisor, responds…
MHS uses Lifetouch Photography to take all of our school photos. Lifetouch coordinates with Jostens, our yearbook publisher to work out a schedule that will allow us to meet our deadline for yearbook submission. The senior section of the yearbook is due to our publisher usually by December 1st. So, working backwards, we need many months to make sure we can photograph all the seniors… Coordinating with their schedules, Lifetouch’s availability and allowing for retakes. There are a couple other advantages to taking your senior portrait early: You get to enjoy the photographs all year, your senior year! You have time to retake your photo if you don’t like the first batch. And, it is one less thing for you to have on your mind as you begin school in the fall and face the college application process. And, let’s be honest… do you really look that different in September than you did the previous May?!