The Legacy Desk: 10th Year Anniversary

With such an exciting name, “The Legacy Desk” is quite a simple concept.  The history of this desk dates back all the way to 2008. It is one of the longest lasting impacts that the graduated classes still have on the students today. All it consists of is the words “Class of…” and the year of that student’s graduating class. As a student sitting in math class, staring at the obscure desk with the writing etched in it, I am reminded of students who also persevered through the same struggles the past thirteen years.

I interviewed Ms. Caine, a Math teacher at PRHS, about the infamous desk that resides in her classroom.  “It’s a fun tradition,” Caine said. “I do not support vandalism, but I allow it because it already started.  I moved into that classroom about six years ago and the desk’s tradition had already existed.” It seems that the desk might’ve been controversial when it started, but has evolved into an accepted tradition despite its vandalistic roots.  But with the motivation of students to keep their legacy and the appreciated compliance by supervision are positive factors that point towards this tradition continuing for years to come.

It is still unclear from my research and discussion with Ms. Caine how the tradition exactly started or who started it. With the legacy that this desk now holds, however – a legacy that has lasted over a decade – I’m sure it is indisputable that this has become a cool and unique tradition for a small school.

Overall, the desk is a great reminder to former students that class that they are not forgotten.  Ms. Caine had some input on this topic as well. “It’s fun and kids will come back and look.” In our small school, there is only a little legacy that remains for graduated classes besides stories that teachers tell their students about former graduates. The desk gives all students who come back and visit a chance to reminisce. It creates a bridge to unite the former students with current students who are approaching their own graduation.

“It’s fun and kids will come back and look.””

— Mrs. Caine

It is perfect timing to recognize this desk because the school theme this year is all about legacy and remembrance.  While this symbol of remembrance may seem the most unique and casual to our population of students, there are many other examples of how students leave their legacy on the school as individuals, rather than as a class.  The most prominent of these are the sports awards. The gym walls are covered with state championship banners, sectional banners, and banners of league winners. Names line the hallways in coordination with the awards ranging from 1,000-point scorers, 100-win wrestlers, athletes of the week, major trophies, and records for sports such as track and field and lacrosse.  Other awards in the school include the showcase for marching band awards, individual academic awards near the front office. In conducting research on legacies visible in the school, I was perhaps most interested to learn of the symbol of legacy in the Little Theater. Graduated students and Theater Program participants write messages on the back walls and, like discographies, list all the plays that they contributed to in their theater careers. It is humbling to see the names strewn across the wall – names that are now recalled as inspirational by current PRHS actors, singers, and performers. Another form of legacy for students to get recognized is the bricks with graduated students’ names on the patio by the snack shack. This is great because it provides every single student with prominence and recognition. Lastly, the youngest legacy that Park Ridge High School has is Owl Witness News.  The program is only in its fifth year, which is old enough to be longer than my tenure at PRHS. Inside the “newsroom” consists of posters with the most memorable moments of each year’s teams. These legacies left behind a lasting impact for the former to students to unite the bridge between them and the current students.