Hugh Barringer '21
On April 5, I returned to school fresh off of spring break, eagerly awaiting the prospect of packed classrooms and reunions with people I hadn’t seen in over a year. However, until one of my classmates asked me to help him grab some Gatorade for the Tounge that his mother had dropped off, I was oblivious to what would await me just outside of Sam’s Bar. Gazing upon this tent, I was dumbfounded with how amazing the Tounge actually is.
The Tounge, a portmanteau that combines the words “tent” and “lounge,” similar to the normal senior hangout spot called the sky lounge (a.k.a. the Skounge), features everything you could ever need to pass the time – a putting green, a Spikeball net, cornhole, a ping-pong table, and an ever-dwindling supply of lawn chairs. Furthermore, parents of seniors refill the snack table in the Tounge every morning, of which the Senior Class has taken full advantage. As amazing as this setup is, the Tounge can never make up for the Seniors’ lost year, which was the intention of creating the Tounge. There simply is no amount of Spikeball, ping-pong, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts that can make up for what we’ve lost over the past year. Yet, it’s safe to say that all parties involved, whether it’s the faculty at STA or my fellow classmates, have made the best of an incredibly difficult situation.
However, for me, the highlight of the Tounge isn’t the games or snacks – though those are amazing – but the fact that people are always there. During hybrid learning, I can remember multiple instances where, upon arriving early at school to drop my sister off, (aside: the lack of schedule coordination between the schools this year has been abysmal) I sat alone in my classroom and looked at my phone until someone else showed up five minutes before class. I’ve also endured countless study halls *ahem* free periods *ahem* where I was the only senior in the library and many lunches where I couldn’t find another senior in the lunch tent. While these situations might not have been daily, they were frequent enough to make my experience much less enjoyable compared to now. With the Tounge, seniors now want to continue coming to school and connect with their classmates. Even if I arrive at school an hour before my first class, there is always someone in there. In that respect, my favorite time to be in the Tounge is during my free period. With only six or eight people in the tent, the chaos that accompanies periods when everyone is in there – and the friend group sorting that comes with the crowdedness – is gone. In those moments, I experience the STA community at its best, knowing the fact that whatever group of six to eight of my classmates is in a space, I will enjoy and cherish the time I spend with them.