Illuminated by light pouring in from the Belvedere windows overlooking San Francisco Bay, the Senior Class stood in a semi-circle, clad in white dresses, holding bouquets of pink and white roses in one hand and shaking guests’ hands with the other.
Faculty and students, along with invited parents and friends, congratulated the departing class as a commencement to graduation week.
“I enjoy getting to see everyone and being congratulated the most,” senior Gaby Gupta said.
Seniors accessorized their outfits with formal jewelry, while many hid casual footwear, aimed for comfort, beneath the skirts of their floor-length dresses.
“The seniors in the receiving line should definitely wear their comfiest shoes because they are standing there for a long, long time,” philosophy teacher Paul Pryor-Lorentz said.
Footwear ranged from elegant heels to Converse high tops to TOMS slip-on wedding shoes.
“The dress dilemma was that we were all having to wear all-white instead of ivory or cream white,” Gupta said. “The other dilemma was making sure everyone was wearing enough strap fabric on their dresses. Everyone needs to look nice, and people wearing skinny straps don’t look very consistent or uniform.”
The Senior Tea tradition allows the community to connect back to the roots of Convent and Schools of the Sacred Heart, according to junior Caroline Salveson.
“It’s a really nice way to calmly start a long and hectic week,” Salveson said.
The historical element of the event is valuable, as it builds connections with sister schools in New Orleans and New York, according to Pryor-Lorentz.
“We greet the seniors for the first time in their dresses,” Pryor- Lorentz said. “We go around and shake all of their gloved hands in a line as a salute to them. It’s one of those interesting traditions we have.”
Some teachers may want to continue a conversation with the graduating seniors, but oftentimes they will be told to hurry it up and move on, according to Pryor-Lorentz.
For the first time, students from all grades took part in the celebration with juniors lining the Marble Stairs leading up to the sophomores in the Gallery and the freshmen in the Center.
“Senior week is a lot,” Salveson said. “Tea is a good event to start that off in a civil way.”