Two $50 checks made out to McKinney High Schooll? Check. Updated insurance card? Check. Updated driver’s license? Check. Outlined design for my senior parking spot? Check.
Wake up at 8 a.m. to wait in line in 100-plus degree weather until 5 p.m. to purchase that parking spot? Unforgettable.
Traditionally, every year at MHS the seniors have the opportunity to purchase a parking spot at the front of the parking lot and paint it using the school colors (blue, gold, white and black). All in the name of school spirit. Last year they sold the spots early in the morning. That meant seniors camped out overnight so they could be at the front of the line and get the best spot. The administration was not too thrilled about this, so this year as we started a couple of weeks ago they moved the sale time to 5 p.m. This did not stop anyone from lining up as early as 8 a.m.!
This being my senior year, I was ready to get started. I slept in just a little and didn’t arrive until about 10 and I was still 21st in line. People brought towels, blankets, and lawn chairs to sit in while we all anxiously waited in line. I brought Monopoly and my friends and I carried on a nice game for about an hour or so.
We were required to have a sketch of what we wanted our parking spot to look like in order for the school to approve it, and while some people just doodled some people had complex designs in mind! For example, Coco Adams drew a complex sun and moon and wrote “aspirations above her spot." Keeton Ballantyne, Sawyer Erickson, Jacob Derryberry, and Megan Wanttie all shared two parallel spots and made a giant squid attacking a whale under a ship. Many of these designs required intricate design work and hours upon hours of work out in the unbearable heat. To beat the heat, many people took tents to cover themselves while they painted and coolers to stay hydrated.
It was a mess finding a parking spot, and we had to put up lawn chairs attached to strings so that other people wouldn’t park in your spot and smudge your paint. When they finally allowed us to pick our spots some people realized that their documents were out of date. For example, Brooke Fangio had realized her license was expired, so she hurried to the DMV and barely made it back around 4. Once she got to the front of the line she noticed her insurance was expired and wasn’t allowed to get her spot until she had the updated copy. Many other students faced the same situation once they reached the front of the line, and it was devastating. Because everyone was hot and sweaty and just wanted to get their spots so they could get out of there and go home and get some sleep in air conditioning.
Although this is a fun tradition, it is also very costly. I split the cost with a friend and paid about $45 for all of my supplies, which wasn’t bad at all, but Keeton, Sawyer, Megan, and Jacob paid about $400-$500 for all of their supplies! You are required to buy your own paint, but the specific colors are given to you, and your own brushes and other necessary supplies. Not to mention that you end up paying $100 just for the spot, but it is
definitely well worth it. It’s a great experience and something you can never forget. I had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. some mornings to go out and paint because by 10 the heat index was already reaching 100 and the cement would burn your feet as you tried to paint.
Designs vary from just doodles you would see in a notebook or professional drawings done by artists. Rachel Proctor drew a Dalmatian from the classic Disney film 101 Dalmatians and on his collar wrote “my spot." All of the ideas were incredibly clever and we are all excited to see who wins the grand prize. I spent about 15 hours total painting my spot because between the base coat, waiting for that to dry, the second coat and waiting for it to dry, drawing it all out in chalk and taping everything off it all became very tedious and stressful. We were all really worried we wouldn’t finish on time to be ready to park in our spots on the first day of school.
All of the senior spots are judged during the second week of school and it is a huge competition that everyone participates in and the first place winner receives a $50 prize (the cost of the spot) and second place receives $25.
Even though it was tedious work and costly, it was well worth it in the end because now when I arrive at school at 9:20 and the parking lot is packed with cars, I just drive on up to the very front and park in my reserved spot!
Editor's note: Don't forget to check out more of those creative MHS seniors' designs in the image gallery below.
Teen Talk columnist Christine Baker is a senior at McKinney High School. Watch for her column on Fridays, as well as other various stories during the week.