Washougal, WA — About 200 Camas High School Papermakers gathered at the Port of Camas Washougal at 6:30 am Thursday to hold an annual tradition — the Senior Sunrise.
The Class of 2021 is starting their school year with remote learning, and will likely stay in this state for at least a couple months, so decided they wanted to gather and feel a sense of normalcy.
“This is just one of the senior year traditions where everybody gathers early in the morning to watch the sunrise,” said Dave Peddie, a Camas High School senior, and State Champion swimmer. “Other schools in the area did it and we wanted to do it too to keep the tradition alive. We got the word out and everyone is here.”
Reactions to the way the school year is starting is mixed. Some say it’s working well, for them, while others would prefer to have school in the classroom.
“It’s going better than we thought,” said Peddie. “The teachers are putting in a lot of work, and they are making sure we’re learning the material we’re supposed to learn. It’s a smooth transition so far.”
Prior to departure, the Camas Swim team decided to provide water entertainment by stripping down to their competition swim suits and plunging into the cold Columbia River.
“We decided to hop in,” said Peddie. “It was Jack’s (Harris) idea. He texted us late last night and he’s like bring your speedos and we’ll do a little swim. It was fun!”
Harris admitted it was his idea.
“Once I heard about the planning of this Senior Sunrise thing, I thought we’d do the best we can to make memories this year considering everything that’s going on so I thought it would be really funny if me and the guys decided to hop in front of everyone,” said Harris, a CHS Senior and member of the school’s swim team. “I thought it would be something fun to talk about as a good memory. The water wasn’t that bad, but it was refreshing.”
Getting in was the hardest part, said CHS senior, Alex Duma. “Nobody actually wanted to get in, but once we got in it was good.”
Peddie isn’t sure what other events are planned, but he said it was good to gather and connect with friends.
About half the students wore face masks, and they mostly stayed in smaller groups, except for one larger group by the river’s edge. The event lasted about 45 minutes, after which many headed out to eat breakfast.