COVID-style college wall

Vandegrift college wall takes on a virtual platform


Screenshot by Kate Denning

Featured seniors submit their name, photo, major and future college.

Kate Denning, Editor

Another repost on someone’s story, another sweet comment and new submissions flood in through her Instagram notifications. But she doesn’t mind the influx of likes, shares and comments–at least a physical tradition is continuing through a virtual landscape.

Two weeks ago, StuCo decided to continue a traditional aspect of being a senior at Vandegrift: the college wall. However, due to the majority of students being virtual this year, StuCo had to find a way to virtualize the wall to reach as many students as possible. Thankfully, two seniors last year, Roshan Desai and Tanvi Siruvuri, had given them the inspiration they needed.

“So we actually didn’t come up with this idea,” junior and StuCo member Avery Wong said. “Two seniors from the class of 2020 last year ran it. We realized two weeks ago that this would be something cool that we should do for the 2021 seniors and we thought student council would be a good club to facilitate it.”

Wong was the StuCo member tasked with monitoring the account, editing the photos and uploading them to @vhs2021collegewall on Instagram. Now, the account has 400 followers and 75 posts. Wong said that she’s had a lot of fun seeing what seniors are majoring in and helping to continue a valued tradition.

“It’s interesting to see what everyone’s majoring in because there’s obviously the main ones like business, engineering and stuff,” Wong said. “But it’s cool to see someone doing like fashion merchandising. So it’s fun seeing all these different majors that I didn’t know existed, and it’s making me very excited for senior year.”

Wong has also had fun keeping her identity a secret–until now–unless a senior she knew reached out to submit their photo, school and major to the account.

“I haven’t revealed myself to anyone except for some of my friends that DM [the account],” Wong said. “I usually respond with like, ‘Oh congrats! Yay!’ but if it’s someone I know, I respond with, ‘Oh marvelous darling!’ and then they’re like, ‘Who is this?’ and I’m like, ‘Oh sorry, it’s Avery.’”

In addition to having fun, keeping the tradition alive is also important to Wong and many others across the community. Typically the college wall would be on display outside the counseling office on campus and would feature the schools and their logos along with all the seniors attending that school.

“Obviously we’ve been apart from each other for a while, and one thing we always look forward to is walking into the school and seeing the lists of students on the college wall, the physical one at school,” Wong said. “And I know parents appreciate seeing it, like seeing where everyone’s going to college. So it’s nice having that virtually, and it’s a little more personalized to have a picture and you have the major and it’s just cool.”

Wong has gotten confirmation from a couple seniors who also agree that what StuCo and Wong are doing is greatly valued and appreciated.

“There were a couple [seniors] that were like, ‘It means a lot that you guys started this,’” Wong said. “I think that they’ve been enjoying seeing where their classmates are going to college.”

Senior Jeyashri Rameshbabu, who will be majoring in Neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University next fall, said that she was excited that the college wall would live on throughout a virtual year.

“I was really excited to know that the college wall still lives on in its own way,” Rameshbabu said. “It was one of the traditions I was looking forward to as a senior, and it made me really happy that I still got to be a part of it.”

When full in person school returns, Wong still thinks that the account can be continued. She said that it’s been a great connecting tool for her classmates, and a great way to make the college wall more interactive and personalized.

“I think it’s awesome to have it because of COVID, but I think it’s cool to keep doing the physical one obviously when we’re back in school,” Wong said. “Mrs. Spradling told me that they need that data for future Viper students. So maybe having an Instagram page as well, I think we should keep doing it because it’s super, super fun.”

Despite the pandemic interrupting some usual senior traditions, Wong is happy that there is still a way for seniors to see what their peers will be doing with their lives after they graduate.

“I just hope that the seniors enjoy it, enjoy seeing each other and their friends,” Wong said. “I just think it’s something cool. It’s a tradition that we’ve had for a long time and it’s cool to move it virtual.”