Marfa ISD seniors start the new school year with an old tradition

Staff photo by Maisie Crow / Incoming Marfa High School senior Dakota Martinez paints her name on N Gonzales St. in front of the high school as part of a longstanding senior tradition.

MARFA – Last Friday, Marfa High School seniors and their families took to the street to carry on the time-honored tradition of painting their names on the asphalt in front of the school.

“This is a total rite of passage for Marfa students,” said senior Febi Brimhall’s mother, Chantella Brimhall.

Taking place just days before the start of the school year, for many it signaled not only the start of their senior year but also an opportunity to start thinking about life after high school. And, of course, stoked thoughts on navigating another year of pandemic uncertainty.

“I want to go wherever the wind takes me,” said senior Odalys Chacon. “I’m most excited about applying for colleges but also most nervous about that,” she said. “This is a beginning but an end — the start of my future.”

Similar to Chacon, senior Dakota Martinez said she’s most excited about being handed her diploma on graduation day. A native Marfan, she had the same kindergarten teacher –– Mrs. Sheri Eppenauer –– as her dad, who also went to MISD and now teaches there. She plans on studying either nursing or cosmetology and is excited to see “all this hard work finally paid off.”

The senior Class of 2022 grew from having 28 students last school year to 30 this school year. Still, according to Marfa High School Principal Allison Scott, enrollment numbers have decreased at the school overall. Superintendent Oscar Aguero confirmed enrollment went from 294 students last school year to 249 students this school year.

Staff photo by Maisie Crow / Last Friday as family members gathered with their high school seniors to paint the street in front of the high school, Marisa Chacon jumped in to help her daughter paint a dinosaur next to her name as part of the Marfa High School senior tradition.

 

“COVID is going to make things challenging,” said senior Adrian Cataño, adding that it was the delta variant that now has him convinced to get vaccinated. “We thought it was going to be a regular year and then it came back.”

An avid athlete at the school, Chacon, who already got the first dose of the vaccine and is about to get her second, said she’s excited for the “face-to-face attention” that comes with in-person learning. Still, she got the shot to keep herself and others safe — especially during extracurricular activities.

“I didn’t want our team to be put on pause because someone got COVID,” she told The Big Bend Sentinel.

Principal Scott said that while there is no mask mandate, students and teachers are encouraged to wear them. Scott also said academics will be “as rigorous as they’ve always been,” with the school adding honor classes as well as a program in which students can take dual credit classes through Odessa College.

“Hopefully it’ll be a great year,” said Scott. “I’m looking forward to it.”


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