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Painting our own picture

October 7, 2022 at 4:00:00 PM

Priscilla Lee '23

Paint the Numbers is a senior tradition that dates back to the 80s. Like a lot of other senior activities, it’s a lot of yelling, cheering, class bonding, and of course, blue and white. 

Every year, Paint the Numbers is permeated by nostalgia. Even afterwards, I felt the legacy of the seniors before me while taking forever to pick paint out of my hair in the dorm bathroom. 

Legacy is exactly what Paint the Numbers is all about. Taking a closer look at the history of the event, it used to be exclusively for four-year seniors. 

In the recent past, however, the event was expanded to include ALL seniors, instead of just four-year seniors. This is something that people like me, who haven’t spent all four years at Mercersburg, are grateful for. It creates less exclusion and diminishes an Us vs Them culture within the senior class.

In that way, I’m glad the school influences our class to grow closer together. 

However, administrative influence should not extend beyond where it is welcome. This year the number of cameras and lights from the communication teams transformed Paint the Numbers from a fun informal celebration of the senior class into a photo opportunity for the school to post on social media. At its heart, Paint the Numbers is about breaking the rules. Having it be filmed and photographed for marketing purposes decreases the appeal and creates more restrictions and rules. It's not ideal to be trying to create memories with my class while photographers and videographers stalk us. 

Unofficial official events make up the unique culture of Mercersburg in such a fun way, to reminding us that although we may not have a traditional public high school experience, we are still teenagers. Making all of our events feel staged for the school website is not worth sacrificing the meaning of the moment.

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