You Asked Patch Answers: What is the Senior (Tunnel) Ceremony?

We asked Swampscott High's principal to explain what happens on the first day of school when the seniors line up at the entrance to the high school.


Prompted by questions and comments about the annual ceremony at the entrance to school on the first day, known as the senior tunnel, we asked Principal Layne Millington to describe the event.

This is what the principal had to say:

The event has been taking place since at least 2004.

The principal said that he can not say what the event was like in earlier years but in his two years at the school the event has been a celebration.

Seniors are excited to be seniors and they let everyone know this at the entrance.

"It's just loud — real loud," he said.

The morning starts with at least some of the senior class going to breakfast at a student's parents' house, he said.

After breakfast the students get a police escort to the high school.

At the school about 100 seniors form a single line outside the three pillars that hold up the roof of the school's entranceway.

Not just the freshmen, sophomores and juniors but faculty and the principal walk up the stairs at the entrance to the school and walk by the line of seniors.

Some faculty and the school resource officer stand to the side and watch others pass the seniors on the walkway.

The walkway forms a path, about 10 feet wide, between the building on one side and the seniors on the other.

Any student who prefers to enter school other than over the pathway can enter the building through the cafeteria.

The walkway opens at about 7:45 am.

The seniors are wearing senior shirts and some have written in chalk on the pavement. (At the end of the day a group of seniors help custodians clean the walkway of the chalk.)

The seniors have noisemakers but no airhorns.

After all of those who want to walk past the seniors have done so, the seniors run through the school's halls, continuing their hollering.

Then it ends and classes start at 8:10 am.

In the wake of a student bringing a paddle to last year's walk the principal met with juniors last spring to review the ground rules.

There is no physical contact. No throwing things. No silly string.

He will go to the pre-ceremony breakfast and remind seniors of those rules.

The first day of school for all four classes at the high school is Sept. 7.

Judy August 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Absolute form of hazing. Whether something negative happened in the past or not... why open up for the possibility.
Sandie Bock August 22, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Judy, Lighten up, it is celebration of getting to the 12th grade and lasts all of about 20 minutes and is NOT hazing since if you do not want to walk the "tunnel", they enter through the cafeteria door so not mandatory or anything like that. I would rather they do this than being destructive out in the street. Of course, being destructive should not be even thought about. Come on, remember when you were a senior in high school, it was a BIG year, stage of growing up and getting out on your own going to college or getting a job etc.
William R. DiMento August 22, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Another failure by the School Committee. The Principal is more of a playground director than an educational leader. He thinks this is "fun" .He really does.I suggest our elected School Committee shoud not allow hazing of any nature, no matter how minor.
Judy August 22, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Celebrate, sure...find another way! Parade through town, beep your horns, yell and scream! I'm all for it. And you don't think the ones who decide to go through the cafe aren't going to get ridiculed?? Wake up! It's a bad idea...
Peter Flaherty August 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM
With Bullying and Hazing being such hot topics in society today it just doesn't seem to be worth the risk. The Swampscott School system already has a black eye in a lot of people's minds, why take the risk of having something happen and worsening the schools perception?


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