Informant: “Every year, the graduating seniors at my high school at home in Lakewood, Colorado, um, have a senior campout. Where they camp out on the soccer field on the night before for the last night of school…and they’re just really rowdy and often try to break into the school and do some kind of prank. And then the following day, on the last day of school, they have a giant shaving cream fight. Out in the same, like, area of the field of the school, where they just attack each other mercilessly with shaving cream. And then walk home covered in shaving cream.”
Me: “Did you do it?”
Informant: “Yes, I did it, hahaha…um, yeah. So I participated in the campout and shaving cream fight. The campout was really fun, and every year the principal threatens to shut it down…because everyone’s too rowdy and does too many obnoxious and destructive things. But, and they never actually do. And…sometimes the police show up, that didn’t happen my year. And then the shaving cream fight is just really awesome because you just get covered in shaving cream.”
My informant heard about the campout and shaving cream fight from older students when she was an underclassman, and then eventually participated as a graduating senior. This campout represents the liminal period between high school and college, which are generally thought of as two separate stages of life. In fact, it could be classified as the zone between childhood and young adulthood, since many people turn 18 between high school and their freshman year. This ‘initiation’ solidifies the seniors’ status as no longer being in high school, which may explain their desire to be rowdy and celebrate the end of childhood. It has many parallels with USC’s own Fountain Run, which graduating seniors participate in each year as a way to mark yet another transition.