Seniors’ gifts keep principal off-guard
Many traditions surround the ritual of commencement, long robes and unflattering hats among them. Lansing High School seniors have a unique tradition of presenting gifts to the principal as they cross the stage on graduation day.
LHS principal Steve Dike said the tradition began before he came to the school in 2001-02.
"I don't know where it started, but I get a chuckle out of it," he said.
The gift is usually tied back to something that happened during the year, Dike said.
His first year at the school, he received 160 squares of flannel that said "2002 seniors." He said there had been a flap about the dress code that year. In 2003, in response to changing the cookie wrapping from plastic bags to foil, Dike said he received a foil wrapper from each senior up to the last one, who gave him a foil ball that was about 8 or 9 inches around.
Last year, Dike said he received a strand of purple Mardi Gras beads from each senior.
"About halfway through, I was about halfway up my neck in purple beads," he said.
He said the gift referred to his love - "or lack thereof" - for Kansas State University. Dike said he was a Nebraska Cornhuskers fan.
Dike said he tried to keep all the mementos, despite the mass quantities. He said he put one of the gifts from each year on his wall, which he plans to do "till I run out of wall space." He said the only problem was where to put the items he couldn't hang on the wall.
"I've just got this box of purple beads sitting here," he said.
Dike said he didn't know what ideas the seniors had brewing for gifts this year.
"It'll be a surprise when we get there," he said.
Senior Gwyndolyn Jones said one of the first ideas she'd heard was to give Dike live goldfish out of water, but the idea was abandoned because of animal cruelty laws.