LIVINGSTON, NJ — The first day of school for a senior consists of many lasts: the last time your parents are there to take an embarrassing photo, the last time you know everyone in your classes beforehand, the last time you will have to give freshmen directions at every corner of the building, the last first day of high school.

For seniors at Livingston High School (LHS), rather than dwelling on the lasts, it has been a tradition to celebrate the firsts. On the first day of school, seniors gather in the Madonna Drive parking lot to commend their last first time being together. Students take pictures, dance and walk in as a class to commemorate their end of high school.

The morning of the first day for a senior starts early, but will forever be remembered as a staple of their senior year, which is why the senior class of 2019 was not ready to give up this experience.

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On Aug. 30, Principal Mark Stern sent out an email stating that the Madonna lot would not be open until 7 a.m. on Sept. 4, leaving seniors to feel that the tradition was suddenly ruined. Along with the Madonna lot tradition, LHS seniors also decorate shirts with friends for the first day, and chalk in their names for a place to park. On Monday, Sept. 3, the Livingston Fire Department hosed away the chalked names and blocked off the lot.

Although feeling defeated, LHS seniors did not allow the setbacks to define their first day experience. Seniors showed up at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4, and the Livingston Police Department opened the lot.

As a senior at Livingston High School, I can truthfully say that my last first day will never be forgotten. I had the chance to get together with my grade, and celebrate the year to come rather than fear it.

For most, senior year is a terrifying thought. Between college applications and saying goodbye to a place that has been home for so many years, it is easy to get upset.

My morning at the Madonna lot made me realize that each moment as a senior is a last—but that is not a bad thing. Knowing that something will never happen again is making me enjoy it that much more.

The Madonna lot tradition encourages seniors to savor every last minute of high school and to spend time with everyone you possibly can. The last first day can either be a time to cry or cheer, and the traditions at LHS make students choose to cheer.

This article was written by Sarah Haber, a Livingston High School senior participating in the TAPinto Livingston student internship program.