True Colors: School Year Ends with Color Splash

Each of the four classes is assigned a different color and in competitive school spirit, the kids are encouraged to dress head to toe in the color chosen to represent their graduating class.


When I think back to my childhood, a lot of what I recall involves summer. Whether it be swinging on swings, jumping into pools or falling off my bike into a swarm of cicadas, most of my memories are warm-weather related. I enjoyed the freedom of being unscheduled even more so than any activity. 

As a mom, schedules are a fact of life. By nature, I’m not a clock watcher and having to do so drives me crazy. 

You know what else drives me crazy? The end of the school year and unfortunately, you can’t get to summer without plowing through that. By the time I recover, it’s time to start the back to school madness. It never ends.  

You can call me paranoid, but I have no doubt that these end of the school activities are designed as payback towards parents for all the annoying behaviors their teenagers may have pulled on the teachers during the year. 

One of these activities is something called “Color Wars” at the Senior Send Off Assembly. Each of the four classes is assigned a different color and in competitive school spirit, the kids are encouraged to dress head to toe in the color chosen to represent their graduating class. My kids go to Maine East and if I were running this event, the four colors I would choose would be royal blue, white, black and gray since there’s not a kid there that doesn’t already have an entire wardrobe in these hues. 

When my son’s sophomore class was assigned purple, I knew it was because the entire administration already knew that he wouldn’t remember that he would be in need of a purple shirt and pants until just before the stores closed the night before. 

I love him, but my son forgets everything. The other night I had to race him to work after he forgot that he had to work because he forgot what day it was. 

His claim to fame is to “forget” to turn in homework, due to the fact that he either forgot to put it in his backpack or forgets the backpack itself. This always results in his poor teachers having to take time out of their day to call me to remind him to turn it in. 

I have no doubt that this dubious color choice involved several teachers secretly meeting, twirling their invisible Snidely Whiplash mustaches and mischievously planning their revenge. It’s okay. That’s what I’d do, too. Teachers are creative people and work has to be fun once in a while, right? No harm, no foul. 

When a challenge presents itself, that’s when my true colors become apparent. Finding boys purple clothing in the Morton Grove area that doesn’t involve glitter or a Niles North logo sounded near impossible, but I wasn’t about to lose. (If there’s any Viking parents who ever find themselves ever needing last minute, matte finish royal blue attire, just email me. I’ll hook you up.) 

We did find a purple t-shirt, but no matter how much I tried to convince my son that the rhinestone, skinny jeans we found in the girls section were the height of fashion, he wouldn’t even try them on. With 18 minutes left until the stores closed, I tried to recall the last time I saw my son wearing purple. Soccer! My pack-ratting finally paid off and we located the now way-too-small pair of purple shorts. I reduced their obscenity level by making him layer them over another pair that did fit. 

Take that, Color Wars Planners! We moms are creative people, too. 

I have no idea what color the junior class had to wear because as much as my son is forgetful, my junior daughter is always on the ball. 

My senior daughter and her class debuted their specially designed black shirts at the assembly and after having had them deemed obscene, they were told not to wear them into the school again. The shirts say “Kiss My Class Good Bye”, but someone cleverly used a different color for the “cl” in “class” than the rest of the letters in that word. The back half of the word does indeed stand out. I’m not easily offended, but I don’t think it’s obscene. I enjoy a clever play on words and as far as senior pranks go, this one’s relatively mild. 

A big thank you to all of the Maine East Blue Demon teachers, staff and coaches. You guys are great and with everything you do, it’s impossible for my son to forget where he goes to school every day. I’m proud to be an alumnus myself and to be adding more Demon alumni to the list every year. 

Congratulations to my daughter, Samantha, and all the Morton Grovers graduating in 2011!

I know the end of the year is busy, but don’t forget to thank your kids’ teachers and coaches. (Even if they do make you run for purple pants at the last minute.) 

Charles Gulotta May 29, 2011 at 05:08 PM
I don't think those senior shirts are obscene at all. Just imagine the kinds of things that are said in the hallways (and faculty lounges) of high schools across the country every single day of the year. It also looks as though the people responsible for the shirts went through some time and expense to get those made. This seems like an odd time to become strict and humorless. But congratulations to your daughter on her graduation, and to you, Jessica, on another excellent column.
Jessica Sieghart May 29, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Now pink is a hot color for the boys. Danny wears it quite a bit. Pink must have wiped out purple for boys because there was nothing! I'll go through lengths to get these things that show support to something or someone because it's good for the kids, but I wish they'd make it a little easier sometimes ;) thanks for the comment, Johnette!
Jessica Sieghart May 29, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Charles, I think the shirts are hysterical, creative and yes, well made. I suppose they have to have their lines and the seniors will only be there a few more days, but I think banning the shirts was a bit of an overkill.I think the kids coming to school on pajama day in lingerie and high heels is much more inappropriate, but that seems to continue. When you're in charge of the world, put me in charge of this nonsense, ok? Thanks for your comment and support, Charles!
Andy Ambrosius May 31, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Hilarious! I'm a first time reader of your column, but it won't be the last.
Jessica Sieghart May 31, 2011 at 11:18 PM
Hi Andy! Thank you for the compliment and your comment. I'm here every Sunday (wink, wink ;)


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