With the 2021-2022 school year underway, the new senior class is kickstarting their typical traditions. After 2 years of disrupted school activities, a nice way to welcome back normalcy has been the crafting of senior jeans for the class of 2022.
Schools across the country are taking part in the recycling of jeans to then paint, design, and express the student. It is a tradition many participate in on color war day leading up to a big football game or homecoming to show school spirit: “Senior cord pants and later skirts were embellished with school names, graduation year, paintings of cultural icons and popular sayings. “Wearing cords was not just a passing fad, but rather a means of expressing one’s social identity and school pride” (Tribune-Star). With the heightened excitement of having the typical school year, people are putting extra effort to make sure their jeans are the best in the show.
The jeans are carefully made and almost a symbol of high school status. As stated before, they are usually made for the spirit week at school - a week where every day has a theme and typically ends the week with different classes wearing different colors. It is a way to bring the class together. Even though it is typically an activity for senior girls, everyone is joining in. People feel that the communal making and wearing highlight their personalities and school spirit (Datta).
Conestoga Senior High School, located in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, is just one of many schools to participate. On September 10th, 2021, after a long spirit week, the seniors tailgated in the student parking lot, debuting their freshly painted jeans. Seniors grabbed their coffee and took some pictures to remember this tradition. The senior jeans were also interpreted into “jorts,” shorthand for jean shorts, and jean skirts. There is a lot of creativity and interpretation for senior jeans.
Originating from Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, in 1904 then spreading nationwide in 1912 (Gould). Over time, the jeans have become more elaborate but remain with some of today’s themes: “Early versions of cords were plain or listed only a few signatures from classmates. As time passed, however, new decorative themes were adopted: school mascots, cartoon characters, group, and club membership, and sports themes” (Gould). The trend throughout the years have varied in popularity, but are back on the rise - and preserving the traditional art.
Whether it be for school spirit week or a sporting event, high school seniors across the country rocked their jeans for student tailgates and commemorate a great year ahead.
Tribune-Star. “Historical Treasure: A Tradition on School Pride Not Forgotten.” Tribune-Star, 4 Aug. 2019.
Datta, Teresa. “Senior Overalls Keep Traditions Alive.” The Buzz Magazines, 11 Dec. 2015.
Gould, Katherine. “GUEST BLOG: THE HISTORY OF SENIOR CORDS.” Indiana State Museums and Historic Cites, 21 May 2021.