A procession of young adults walks in droves, dressed in all black, each adorned with a single gold rose.
At first glance, it may seem like they are mourning the end of life, but it is quite the opposite: they are celebrating the beginning of senior year.
Senior Inaugural at Baltimore City College High School has been an important tradition for decades, meant to initiate the senior class and establish their role as the leaders of the high school.
After a confusing and difficult year, many had no idea what the future held for this vital part of the City’s history.
The last Senior Inaugural, which was held for the class of 2020, took place in the fall of 2019; two years later, we are glad to be able to continue the tradition once again for the wonderful class of 2022.
Nearly the entirety of the class of 2022 gathered in the auditorium, accompanied by teachers, administrators, and a sprinkling of juniors chosen to witness this major event.
The celebration began with the Pledge of Allegiance in Latin, led by the Collegian’s own Lorenzo Funk (22).
A brief musical interlude kicked off the ceremony again..
Senior members of City’s band sang Kayla Byrd (‘22), Jhamiere England (‘22), and Desiree Marie Garcia (‘22) sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and senior members of City’s choir Sheniah Carroll (‘22), Amari Fleet (‘22), Kennedy Ransome (‘22), Alexis Scott (‘22), and Jasmine Walker (‘22) sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
After a few words from Senior Class President, Gabrielle Mann; Principal Harcum took the stage to congratulate and welcome the new senior class and to show gratitude for making it this far, especially after the uniquely difficult circumstances brought about by COVID.
Following that, writer, historian and guest speaker Dr. Lawrence P. Jackson gave a lovely speech on the power of using your voice to speak out.
He applauded the youth of today and highlighted some of Baltimore’s own who were using their platform to bring about change.
Then the class of 2022 presented him with a gift to show appreciation for his thought-provoking and inspiring words.
Next Principal Harcom (‘?) swore in senior class officers.
These senior members of the Student Government Association had worked with the administration to organize the event itself.
One by one the class officers strode across the stage, raising their right hand as they promised to do their best to serve their class.
Next was the Presidential Address from the aforementioned Gabrielle Mann. She applauded her class on persevering through unfortunate circumstances and making it to their senior year.
She commented on the fact that the last time many of them entered the building before this fall, they were still sophomores and that being a senior entails responsibility.
She also told the class of 2022 to savor their last moments of high school—to not dwell on the bad, but celebrate positive changes and enjoy the moment.
Following that was a beautiful rendition of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” performed by Tayla Chambers (‘22). Not only was it a wonderful performance but Chambers also slightly altered the lyrics to better fit the moment: instead of saying, “This girl is on fire,” she sang, “This class is on fire.”
This delightful tribute to the class of 2022 was capped with a well-deserved standing ovation and was followed by another long-standing ritual in City’s history.
Once the applause ceased, Iyona Barnes (‘22) and Lacy Reddit (‘22) took the stage to introduce a tradition almost as storied as the Senior Inaugural itself: the turning of the rings.
At their behest, the class of 2022 rose and turned their ring two times (each class does a number corresponding to their year, the current senior class does two, next year will do three, etc.) This ceremony is another step in solidifying the seniors’ place as the figureheads of City’s student body.
After the seniors were seated, their counselor Mrs. GrayRice was the next to approach the microphone to say a few words to the class. She had worked with them for over three years.
Her heartfelt ‘love letter to the class of 2022’ was a reminder of the place that City holds in her heart and the hearts of all City alumni.
Finally, the inaugural closed out with the school anthem, “City Forever.” The entire auditorium rose and sang to conclude this event.
As the seniors left the auditorium to take their class photos and permanently take their place in City history, they left behind more than just the name tags on their seats. They left behind an infectious energy—the energy of hope and change, the weightless feeling of standing on the edge of a precipice, the thrill of not knowing what’s next.