Seniors watch the sun set on their high school careers

Jun 2, 2024

Since the Covid pandemic, Dartmouth high school seniors have watched the sunrise together at the start of the school year and at the year’s end, they gather one last time before graduation to watch it set.

“It's like an opening and closing so it's a little emotional because it's their last day but it's beautiful just to come together,” Principal Ryan Shea said at this year’s Senior Sunset held Saturday, June 1 at Apponagansett Beach.

At the beach, students got ice cream from The Bucket, played spike ball and took photos together in front of the sunset.

“I'm so proud of them,” Shea said. “They make Dartmouth what it is, right? Every year you have our kids rise to the occasion. We have such amazing students and it's hard to stand out when they always do because the bar is so high and our kids just continue to keep hitting that bar.”

He added he wanted to thank the class advisors, Jessica Lassey and Melissa Lomba, and the After Prom Committee for their work on the Great Gatsby themed prom for the seniors.

In regard to the seniors, Lassey said, “We were all just talking about how they’re 17/18-year-old adults, but yet they’re kids tossing around footballs, playing spike ball and eating ice cream.”

She added, “It's just a great reminder that yes, we're sending them out into the real world, but they want these moments — they want to have time with friends. It's sweet and it's a wholesome reminder of what we do and why we do it.”

Senior Ian Barreira reflected on his time at Dartmouth High School and highlighted how they all started online during the pandemic, struggling to find the right tools and resources, which ultimately left them at a “disadvantage” when it was time to attend in person.

But even with the shortened amount of time with his peers, Barreira said he has still been able to become close with his classmates.

“Especially senior year — you bond with people you don't even know. You start hanging out with people, you go on drives together, you can act more freely the older you are,” he said, adding how the underclassmen years are often filled with drama and he appreciated the maturity of his fellow seniors this year.

Barreira said he was happy with the turn out of the Senior Sunset event, “It's honestly incredible.”

However, he added, “Some people are crying — it just sucks. It's like our going away party.”

Seniors Adeline Ablett, Emma Wait, Lily Melo, Victoria Carvalho and Lindsey Klein also spoke about how important the friendships they’ve been able to make at Dartmouth High School have been.

“It's been super fun,” Ablett said. “I'm very sad to go because I met my favorite people ever and I made such good memories.”

She said starting out online was “rough” as she is a “very social person,” but similar to Barreira, the last three years have been able to make up for it and she added how she looks forward to her next four years in college.

Waite said some of the friendships she had in middle school were able to grow in high school.

Being in Dartmouth, she said the area itself has made for a unique high school experience. 

“We're so close to the water and especially tonight shows we're able to come here for Senior Sunset and be on the water,” she added.

Melo, who is originally from Westport, said Dartmouth also has a different atmosphere in comparison to her old school.

She said she didn’t know many people there, but she was able to meet a lot of her closest friends through tennis her freshman year at Dartmouth High School.

Cavalho said she originally intended to go to a vocational school, but is thankful to have chosen Dartmouth High. 

“I'm so glad that I got to find my people, and even though we're going to go to college for the next four years and not be necessarily next to each other, I think that since our group is so connected, we're still going to be friends.”

Klein said the last four years went by fast and she recalls how nervous she was at the prospect of finding friends after coming from a private school, but “everyone was so welcoming.”

“Dartmouth is very inclusive and it’s been really good,” she added.

“I feel like this past year has been extra special because of events like this — like Senior Sunset and Senior Sunrise — it really makes you appreciate it so much more,” Klein said. “You really cherish your friendships and being together when you see it about to go.”