A Legacy in Letters: What Goes Into Choosing a Senior Quote?


Zoie Cole

Nonnewaug High School keeps a collection of yearbooks in the LMC, dating as far back as 1942.

Zoie Cole, Reporter

WOODBURY — Yearbooks are one of the most prized recollections of high school, a straightforward way of preserving memories in photos, freezing time and printing it on shiny pages. For many, it is also a way to leave behind a legacy. 

“A senior quote should reflect who you are as a person,” said senior Emily Lungarini. “It should definitely show how you want to be remembered after you graduate.”

A senior quote can be anything from an ancient proverb to a snarky line from The Office. It can be wise or witty, a realistic remembrance of character, or something to re-read with a pang of regret on a nostalgic evening twenty years in the future. 

“Mine is Master Oogway from Kung-Fu Panda,” Lungarini said. “‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.’”

“I chose a [Vincent] Van Gogh quote,” said Nonnewaug senior Madison Dannenhoffer. “‘I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.’ Not just because I love Van Gogh, but I also spend a lot of my life trying to help other people and appreciate what others are doing in their lives.”

“I think a senior quote should be about yourself,” said senior Alyssa Hodges. “Like mine: ‘I didn’t choose chickens. Chickens chose me.’ Because I’m the chicken whisperer.”

Each Nonnewaug yearbook has a different cover, collection, and student body. (Zoie Cole)

“I think choosing a good yearbook quote is important because lots of people pick things they’ll be embarrassed about later,” said Nicole Cowles, a math teacher at Nonnewaug High School. “Especially as a parent, when your kids are picking their quotes, you don’t want them to cringe when they pull out their yearbooks when they’re 50.”

Senior quotes can show any number of things about a person: the things they enjoyed, the kind of person they were the year they graduated, and even the kind of music they liked. 

“Lots of people used song lyrics,” Cowles said. “Mine was actually from ‘Time in a Bottle’ by Jim Croce: ‘But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them.’”

No matter what the end result boils down to, choosing a senior quote is a significant task for many members of the graduating class. With almost infinite possibilities and a character limit shorter than a tweet, it may seem nearly impossible. 

“What works for you might not work for someone else,” said Nonnewaug senior Megi Gorka, “and what works for someone else might not work for you. It’s important to be able to look back in twenty years and say, ‘Oh yeah, I said that,’ and be proud.”