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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Reminiscing on the Senior Circle

Nonnewaug High Schools senior circle in 2015 before renovations began and changed the look of the school.
Samantha Almonte
Nonnewaug High School’s senior circle in 2015 before renovations began and changed the look of the school.

WOODBURY — Juniors and seniors at Nonnewaug today may have the privilege of leave and return or early dismissal as long as their grades are up to par and they have good attendance. But what about a privilege seniors had in the early 2000s? 

Previous Nonnewaug graduates might remember a privilege known as Senior Circle. 

Seniors who didn’t have a class for some periods had the opportunity to go outside by the flagpole and interact with their peers. 

Unlike the post-renovation flagpole area that sits atop a brick patio, the original flagpole was placed in a grassy area surrounded by a sidewalk accompanied by some trees and benches. 

The area was a lively one where students would talk with friends, read books, complete their classwork while some even tanned in the sun. 

A handful of teachers at Nonnewaug who are also alumni remember the senior circle. Several of those teachers can recall the memory in vivid detail.

“It was a place to hang out with friends if you had a study hall and nothing to do,” said Andrew Zielinski, Nonnewaug’s agricultural mechanics teacher. “[It was] nice to spend some time outside and enjoy the weather.” 

According to 2002 graduate Jessica McKay, an English teacher and Class of 2024 advisor, the Senior Circle was a privilege for students to enjoy. Only seniors were bestowed the opportunity of enjoying the area during school.

“It was like a small mound; the flagpole was still in the center, but there were four trees around,” said McKay. “It was all grass, very beautiful, with several benches.”

Eventually, the once-grassy circle where seniors once hung out was turned into the bricked circular patio in the bus loop that students see today. The change was part of the school’s renovation that took place over the past five years.

“I think part of [removing the Senior Circle] was when we locked down the school after Sandy Hook,” said McKay. “We really weren’t allowed to go back out there. Everything was locked down. Every door was locked. So we didn’t really get to adventure further until COVID, where we were able to go outside for mask breaks.”

According to Kathleen Gorman, the agricultural production teacher and graduate of the NHS Class of 2012, the Senior Circle was taken away by a new principal in 2011. Other senior privileges, such as the Senior Lounge and Senior Field Day, also ended that year in response to issues the previous year.

Over the years, the ambition around the Senior Circle trickled to a stop. By 2018, the circle was changed during the renovation, stripping the area from its nature while turning it into a concrete slab.

“Before the construction, there was grass and only small pathways. Seniors used to suntan, bring in blankets and have picnics and eat their lunch out there,” said Gorman. “It was a completely different environment. Now it’s hard, it’s concrete, it’s not very welcoming. It’s not green; it doesn’t make you want to go have a picnic out there.”

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About the Contributor
Jillian Brown '24, Reporter
Jillian Brown is a senior at Nonnewaug High School and writes for the NHS Chief Advocate as a reporter. She is a first-year journalism student. Jillian is a member of the Woodbury FFA, works at a plant nursery along with working on a farm, and spends her free time with friends. Her plan is to pursue welding after graduating from Nonnewaug. As a staff writer, she enjoys writing about agricultural pieces.
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