Day of the Ditch

The following informant is a 20 year old college student from Upland. Here she is explaining the tradition of Senior Ditch Day at her highschool. This is a transcription of our conversation, she is identified as GA and I am identified as K:

GA: So, every year the seniors of Upland High School would have a Senior Ditch Day, and all of the seniors, well … maybe not all of them cause maybe some would not go … but a lot of them would go to the beach.

K: Were you guys aloud to miss school?

GA: No, like the teachers were pretty adamant, they did not want anyone to go!

K: So how did it work? Did you first meet at the school?

GA: Yeah, we first meet at the school and then carpool to the beach, we would spend the day at the beach and then comeback. After the day no one really talks about it because we did not want to get in trouble. Like no one posted anything about it cause the teachers might find it

K: How did you hear about the tradition?

GA: Umm.. like everyone was just talking about it and being like secretive about it because they did not want the teachers to hear about it. I found out probably when I was a junior, that other people were doing it so I kind of got excited about it, but then forgot about it, and then when I was a senior it came up and I was like oh man! This is a tradition.

K: How did it feel to participate in this tradition of Senior Ditch Day?

GA: It was a lot of fun… to get away… you felt pretty reckless. But like a lot of the teachers they did not want you to leave! And I remember that day there was like a couple of quizzes that a lot of people missed

Context: She told me this while we were sitting at her dining room table one evening.


I think the Senior Ditch Day tradition for Upland High is great. These kids are seniors, about to embark on a new journey and leave high school, something needs to mark this occasion. This makes me think of the Rites of Passage, and how when we change identities we often ritualize it. That is kind of what this is, also like GA said it makes you feel a little reckless, it aloud her and her class to blow off some steam.