Senior Tradition Brings Community Together

It has been exactly 150 days since Round Rock High School was last open for school. COVID-19, the newest pandemic of our world  brought daily life to a halt. With the pandemic continuing for the past four months, seniors became worried that they would not get to live out the traditional senior experience. Many thought the year would be a throw away, but one tradition allowed them to participate in the big experiences of senior year, painting a parking spot.

“I’m glad that even with COVID-19, we were still allowed to paint our spots,” senior Grace Sheidow said. “I take this pandemic very seriously and even though I had to wear a mask when there were people around, it was still very fun. It helped give a sense of normalcy.”

With Assistant Principal Jeff Black heading up the parking spot process, a new online process was created before COVID-19 hit the Round Rock community. This system involved using a Google form where students would list all the pertinent information regarding their car and eligibility to drive. After submitting the form, a lottery system was instilled where students were notified via email when they could come up to the school and receive their parking permit and the actual spot.

“The process was much easier this year,” Black said. “I do not see us going back to how we conducted the process in prior years.”

After being notified of if students were chosen out of the lottery, students were given time slots of one hour to come up to Round Rock High School and take part in the new process. This included cars lining up in the bus lane right outside the 1100 gym where the only thing students would have to do is give an eligible driver’s license and the $100 fee. After students completed this step, the school distributed a parking permit, their spot, and a one page paper listing all rules and regulations regarding parking and painting the spot to each student.

“We reduced the need for additional documentation that needed to be presented in person,” Black said. “The use of windows or time slots to finalize purchases, and students adhering to their assigned time slots led to a shorter wait time than in previous years.”

After students were awarded their spot, they received an email giving them an opportunity to paint their spot from Aug. 8 to Aug. 16 to paint their spots. The only rule given to students when painting, use water based exterior latex paint as it will allow the spots to be reusable for years to come.

“I missed out on things last year and this is the one thing I can have normally like I would’ve if we were not in a pandemic,” Lorna Barker said. “It offered a sense of normalcy and a chance to have an ideal senior year, if only for a moment.”

During the painting window, large groups of students could be found in the parking lots painting their ideal parking spot masterpiece. On top of students being there, family, friends, and the community came together to aid in the parking spot painting process. Everyone got in the game in an effort to help bring some sense of normalcy back to the community.

“It was really nice to see everyone smiling and happy,” Sheidow said. “This year has definitely been difficult and brought a lot of changes, so a bit of normalcy was nice. Even though most of our senior traditions will be taken away from us, I’m glad we still got to paint our spots!”