High schoolers aren't due back to school for another week, but students at this Farmington Hills school are already hard at work — painting their parking lot.
These soon-to-be seniors at Mercy High School have been looking forward to this tradition since they were freshman themselves, when they saw the seniors park their cars in brightly colored parking spaces. Even from the street, drivers can catch a glimpse of the pink and blue spaces in the parking lot standing out amid the asphalt.
Personalizing parking spaces has been a tradition for as long as these students can remember. As students get their licenses and begin driving themselves to school, they have the option to pay and reserve a parking space in the school parking lot.
Then a couple weeks before school opens in the fall, students come together to paint their spots. They supply the paint, while the school provides tools like brushes.Students started thinking about their parking spot design months in advance, and submitted the designs to the school for approval. The parking spaces are colorful and no two are the same: Some students write their names, some write punchy slogans, while others draw references to shows and movies.
Keira Logan, 17, said that she's excited to kick off senior year, and so are her classmates: Over 140 students in the the senior class are painting parking spaces.
"My friend said she knew her design since freshman year," she said.
Joyelle Smith, 17, is painting a splatted version of the character Plankton from "Spongebob," as if she drove over him. Her friend Riley Fields, 17, in the parking space next to her, painted the words, "How late can I be," a twist on the song from the "Lorax" movie, "How bad can I be?"
For Smith, the tradition is bittersweet, but it also represents a return to normalcy after COVID-19. For the class of 2023, high school has been an untraditional experience, to say the least.
But after a hybrid sophomore year and a masked junior year, this school year offers a chance to end high school on a more typical note, starting off with continuing this long-held tradition.
"Even though now it's not the same, it feels more normal," Smith said.