Senior night: A night to remember


Photo provided by: Charlie Stoter

Caroline McConnico, Managing Editor

Last Friday night, R.J. Reynolds celebrated our senior football players, dancing boots, marching band members, and ROTC students in an epic game against Parkland High School. Deaton Thompson Stadium was decorated to the nines, with posters lining the fence around the field, covered in the smiling faces of this year’s honored seniors. At halftime, seniors and proud parents walked briskly across the field, holding back tears and waving to the crowd.

“I’d describe my senior night as euphoric,” senior football player Evan Rhodes said. “It was a culmination of everything I have worked for the last four years.”

Rhodes said that his experiences on the football team has been extremely important to him and will be greatly missed, making Friday utterly bittersweet. 

“The thing I will miss most about playing football at RJR is running out on the field on Friday with my brothers and saying, ‘well we came up short’ or, ‘maybe we won but I could’ve tried harder’,” Rhodes said. “The thing I love most about being on the field is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, all that matters is that you have someone across from you that wants to take you out and you have 48 minutes to make life fair.”

Rhodes’ appreciation and love for Friday’s festivities is a shared sentiment among other seniors being recognized Friday.

“Senior night was great,” senior marching band member Tyler Collins said. “The atmosphere was the key thing because it felt like everyone in the band was there just to support each other.”

For Collins, the marching band’s sense of family has been an essential part of his high school journey.

“I don’t know what I would be doing if I hadn’t joined the marching band,” Collins said. “We lean on each other for support and love that you really can’t get from anywhere else.”

ROTC students were also among the seniors being celebrated. According to senior ROTC member Calloway Umstead, the night was very special. 

“It was a great experience to be recognized with everyone else and have everyone’s hard work appreciated,” Umstead said. 

Twirling on the sidelines, in front of the student section, senior Dancing Boot Sarah Greco was reminiscing about all of the good times she has had as a member of the iconic dance team. 

“Being a boot has meant everything to me,” Greco said. “I have been to many senior nights over the years, and it was hard to believe that I was the one being celebrated.” 

Greco said that the gifts and praise she received from her fellow boots, friends, and family has made the trials and struggles of the last four years all worth it.

“The other boots did an amazing job making sure us seniors felt loved and supported. They decorated beautiful senior posters for us with everything from baby photos to our favorite boots pics,” Greco said. “These gifts made the night so special. My favorite was the compliment jar. I actually had to stop reading them before the game because they were making me tear up. Knowing that people look up to you and that you have impacted them is the greatest compliment.”

To make the night even more special, the Demons swept Parkland with a final score of 49-0. For senior quarterback Duke Ferree and other seniors on the team, this was truly a memorable win.

“Knowing it was one of my last times playing in Deaton Thompson it was very emotional, but having such a successful game, made everything a lot better,” Ferree said. “It meant a lot to me winning on senior night and it will be a night I will remember forever.”