No seniors means big challenges for organizations

First year has brought struggles, opportunities for underclassmen


MaryRose Seaman

The BHS marching band practices in the early fall for football season. Many organizations, including band, have been affected this year due to Braswell having no senior class.

Sports and other organizations have faced numerous struggles this season as a result of Braswell not having a senior class its inaugural year.

Seniors were allowed to graduate with the school they attended the past three years; in most cases, BHS students came from Denton or Ryan High. And though most understand the logic behind the decision, organizations have felt the strain.

“Without seniors, it’s horrible,” assistant football coach Bo Jones said. “We’re lacking leadership and order because of no seniors.”

There is a small advantage, though, according to Jones.

“We’ll have every single player back next season,” he said. “The experience should be higher.”

Although the season suffered due to the lack of senior leadership — the varsity team went 0-10 this season — many of the varsity players have adopted a positive outlook for next year.

“I think we’ll improve,” junior football player Kade Leidecker said. “As the years go by, there will be bigger and bigger classes.”

But not just football has been affected. Other sports — including cross country, swim and soccer — have felt the loss of older team members.

“I feel like we don’t have that person with a lot of experience,” junior cross country runner Kara Freeman said, “or the person who organizes social parties and team gatherings. We’re missing the most experienced grade level.”

Spirit has also suffered slightly, according to junior swimmer Jessica Utz. Before heading to Braswell, Utz attended Ryan High School, where she was also on the swim team.

“I think we’re slower,” Utz said. “I think there’s not as much team spirit.”

But there are advantages, Utz said.

“I think that without seniors,” she said, “it’s given me an opportunity to push myself.”

For many teams, building spirit this season is a key priority.

“[The soccer players at Ryan] know each other and know how they work as a team, so they can be a team,” junior soccer player Citlalli Curiel said. “We don’t know how each other plays. It’s harder because to be able to play, you have to know each other and depend on each other.”

But the effect of no seniors goes beyond sports.

“We don’t have as many people with experience,” junior drum major Ricardo Reina said. “And our size isn’t very big.”

The difference in numbers has been a significant challenge for everyone, including AFJROTC.

“[We’ve been affected] significantly, because all of the jobs seniors had are taken over by juniors,” junior Staff Sgt. Seth Polley said. “It’s a little hard as a junior, not necessarily for me, but for our leaders, Jessie Rowland and Reagan Eldridge, because they are starting the core, and we’re juniors and we’re short staffed. They are both very brave.”

Rowland, a deputy corps commander within AFJROTC, said this first year is a “messy one,” because it’s the first of everything for everyone.

“Having no seniors is definitely a challenge because we’re still learning how to be the best leaders we can be,” Rowland said. “We don’t have the upperclassmen to directly teach us. Because two different schools [Ryan and Denton] are coming together, and they have very different programs, without the seniority it’s been difficult to merge the two cultures in a peaceful way.”