Senior signing day honors graduating class


Kelly Colanto

Anna Walsh, a senior headed to Brigham Young University, placed her pin in Provo, Utah, to show her commitment to her future.

Kelly Colanto and Melissa May

As the end of the school year rapidly approaches, many students, particularly seniors, find themselves faced with impending decisions about what the future may hold for them. For many seniors, one of the hardest yet most important decisions towards the end of their high school career is that of selecting their postsecondary plans for the years to come. On April 30, Fossil Ridge High School held its annual signing day, a celebration of seniors committing to and taking the next steps towards their future.

Starting at 2:30 p.m. during the typical advisory block, seniors from around the school came together to share where they are committed, whether that be college, the military, or any future workplaces. The signing took place in Fossil’s common area, which was decorated with banners, flags, signs, and more memorabilia to commemorate the senior class.

A counselor and a member of the College and Career Center department, Sarah Switala, shared that she will be saying a final goodbye to her first graduating class at Fossil. Over her four years working here, she has adored watching the once shy and timid students become “comfortable and confident leaders” through such an intimidating, yet explorative period of their lives.

As the seniors walked into their signing day, pieces of paper with the words, “I am going to…” were handed out, along with colorful markers and pencils. Most of the students wrote down their postsecondary plans and taped their place of commitment to the window in the east side of the commons. As the day was wrapping up, the wall had well over fifty pieces of paper and the students were able to look around and see where their peers were headed.

As another way of commemorating the graduating seniors, a United States map in the College and Career Center displayed a plethora of pins, each placed on the location of a student’s future plans. Switala explains that the idea of the map has been a dream of both hers and Matt Murphy, another guidance counselor. They plan to keep this map up for the years to come, until it is completely full. It is encouraged that you go in and take a look to honor your graduating class.

There were even more activities and decorations in place to celebrate the seniors, like a microphone to announce their future plans into, as well as a place to have their picture taken. They also had a variety of college merchandise and gourmet cookies as a farewell gift as seniors left the commons.

Memorabilia placed in the College and Career Center, open for seniors to take items for their school. (Melissa May)

Despite the school’s attempt at normalcy for the class of 2021, this year’s signing day looked incredibly different from years past. Seniors were all invited to signing day this year, but students were staggered based on advisories so they would be able to abide by COVID-19 guidelines and safety regulations. “It’s still an improvement from last year though, since we could at least have a signing day this time,” laughed Switala.

In the height of the pandemic, with students stuck quarantining at the end of the school year, the counseling department created a senior slideshow for those graduating to show off their future plans. Since there are students still choosing to learn remotely, the department has decided to continue this tradition. More than 300 seniors submitted a photo and a short description of their plans. The slideshow can be viewed on the Fossil Counseling Department website.

Many seniors were excited for some semblance of normalcy towards the end of their high school careers. With the cancellations of typical activities to celebrate seniors, like the People’s Choice awards assembly or the annual senior walk out, having something like signing day, even in an adapted format, was comforting.

Senior Kate McCune, who will be attending the University of Wyoming next year, explains that being able to experience an event like signing day feels very fulfilling and meaningful, especially after such a tough last year. McCune elaborates, “It was very much a culmination of such a weird senior year, but it means so much getting to sign and put this, almost, final touch on our high school career. It was just a really cool way to unofficially say goodbye, and to start looking forward.”