What’s the Deal with the Senior Sweatshirts?

Hannah Davis Monday, January 14th, Ryan Unikel gave a vague announcement at gathering telling seniors to check their Facebook during lunch. Later that day, 89 seniors swarmed the halls repping grey crewneck sweatshirts celebrating the class of 2019, leaving the rest of the school with lots of questions: what’s the deal with these sweatshirts? Who designed them and why? Where did the idea originate? During the senior retreat this fall, the faculty gave seniors the opportunity to brainstorm different designs that would appear on their senior shirt at the end of the year. Ryan created the Ralph Lauren Polo Bear inspired design then. He added the basketball, orange 19, and Latin colors throughout to symbolize Latin spirit. After realizing that interest in the sweatshirts extended beyond just a small group, he reached out to the entire grade via both email and Facebook in December. Ryan says he “was definitely blindsided by the amount of interest,” but also excited. Once he realized the scale of the project, he reached out to three different companies before deciding on one that could print the designs at a reasonable cost and deliver them in time for the Latin/Parker basketball game on Friday, January 25th. To realize his idea, Ryan used his experience with marketing and digital imaging from some of his classes and his ISP on Digital Marketing last year where he created his own mock clothing brand. Ryan says the biggest challenges he encountered were those he didn’t endure in his ISP, such as collecting money and pushing people to adhere to the deadlines he created. Overall, Ryan says it was definitely worth it, both as a learning experience for him and in seeing the positive response from many of his peers. Gabi Finch “thought [the designs] were cute and unique…It was our own thing.” Fellow senior Julia Fairbank agreed saying, “immediately when I saw them I knew this was a sweatshirt I would wear and love forever.” She even commended Ryan for “execut[ing] a very clean, easy operation.” Michael Davis said, “the sweatshirts were a nice way to commemorate our grade.” However, not all seniors decided to purchase a sweatshirt. Olivia Patinkin opted out. “They’re cute, but I didn’t see how the bear printed on the front related to Latin or our grade. It felt like an inside joke that not everyone understood,” she said. “I have a little FOMO about not having one, but I have plenty of other memorabilia to take from my Latin experience!” Like many seniors on the basketball team, Michael DiConstanzo did not get one because he would miss the main opportunity to wear them: the basketball game. Others didn’t purchase for fiscal reasons or because, like Olivia, they didn’t feel like they understood the design. Ryan did not intend to exclude anyone from the design. Rather, he intended it to be accessible, saying “whether you just think its a cute teddy bear holding a basketball or you know how I was inspired, I think either way it is still a design that a lot of people can wear.” Despite the hard work it took to bring it all together, Ryan says the process and the responses he’s gotten have been rewarding. He did not earn a profit from the experience, instead focusing on creating “a positive thing for the grade that showed not only our class spirit but school spirit.”]]>