Decatur High School

Potluck provides togetherness

Amelia Thomas

Every week, senior Lauren Henderson (left) brings at least two items to share for "Senior Potluck," but fellow seniors' lack of effort discourages her.

Amelia Thomas, Carpe Diem staff

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The class of 2011 will be hard to live up to. Even though Decatur police prevented the unofficial, annual water-balloon fight, and Decatur no longer fosters senior priviledges like off-campus lunch or senior bells, last year’s seniors managed to maintain the hype among their class as well as throughout the school. Even Principal McKain described the 2011 class as “most spirited” at the first senior assembly of this year.

However, senior Lauren Henderson of the class of 2012 is working to break that record with a bi-weekly lunch event she calls “Senior Potluck.”

The idea sparked on the first Friday of school, when InDecatur editors Eilis Gehle and Madelyn Turner and staffer Cecilia Kühnel brought leftovers from the yearbook staff’s beginning-of-the-year class party. The excitement over Lay’s potato chips and mini-cinnamon rolls inspired Henderson to start a tradition.

Every Tuesday in second lunch (“Tummy Tuesday”) and Fridays in first lunch (“Friday Feast”), seniors of every clique participate in the potluck. Henderson often posts on the Class of 2012 Facebook page to remind seniors and suggest items to bring. They contribute dishes as simple as a sleeve of Oreo cookies, to greater efforts like containers of pasta salad.

A major goal behind the feasts, for Henderson, is to bring the senior class together and defeat the sense of separation among some seniors. Some groups may give off an air of exclusiveness, some are more independent and others often feel left out. But on potluck days, none of this proves significant. “No matter who you’re friends with, if you have food, you’ll fit in,” Henderson said. And true enough, when everyone contributes, a sense of community among the senior class results.

However, that’s where the problem with potluck lies. The past few weeks, Henderson has been having a difficult time motivating people to participate. Last Friday was a perfect example. “I brought like three things, things I cooked and spent money and time on,” Henderson said in frustration. She spent nearly $30 on last Friday’s potluck alone. “But they can’t even buy a bag of Doritos.” She finds it unreasonable for seniors who don’t contribute to expect a serving. In hopes of solving this problem, Henderson vows to share her dishes with only those who take part on a daily basis.

Most of the seniors who do participate are girls, such as Madeline Hill, Mary Elizabeth Nuttall and Celine Rosak. Boys don’t often participate, and Henderson named Spencer King and Jason Barefoot as the few who do so on a regular basis. “The boys need to step up,” Henderson said.

Unfortunately, if other seniors don’t make a greater effort, Henderson may discontinue the young tradition. Maybe this is the test that will determine how the spirit of the class of 2012 will compare to that of previous classes.

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Decatur High School
Potluck provides togetherness