Traditional event in which juniors come to campus dressed in formal attire on Monday before final exams start canceled for second straight year because of coronavirus pandemic


Image printed with permission from Minji Kim

Back then a junior, Class of 2019’s Minji Kim dresses up with her peers to celebrate being the lone upperclassmen on campus the Monday before final exams start since the seniors have finished their school year and are getting ready for graduation. This traditional event, also known as “Junior Takeover,” will not be held Monday, May 24, because of the coronavirus pandemic in which many juniors are still choosing to learn from home.

Dominique Chang, Assistant Business Manager

For a second straight year, the Associated Student Body [ASB] will not be organizing the traditional “Junior Takeover” in which rising seniors come to school on the first day of final exam week dressed up to celebrate being the only remaining upperclassmen on campus.

“Junior Takeover” usually occurs on a Monday before the first final exam day of the week since that’s when outgoing seniors are no longer required to come to school and are participating in senior week activities like Senior Breakfast, graduation practice or Grad Nite.

The event was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the closure of Sunny Hills for in-person instruction.

Although COVID-19 positive case numbers in Orange County have dramatically been dropping the past few months and more people – including students – are eligible to get coronavirus vaccinations, ASB students said it still wasn’t worth promoting it on social media this year since many juniors have chosen to still learn from home instead of coming for in-person instruction.

“For several weeks, the ASB continuously discussed and planned this event but ultimately came to the conclusion to cancel it,” said senior activities coordinator Kathryn Aurelio, who coordinates with a team of ASB students to make decisions regarding such events like Junior Takeover. “We decided not to have it because not many people would participate, and it’s usually just a traditional thing where people come to dress up.”

Junior Rita Pattaratornkosohn said she first heard about Junior Takeover when she was a freshman while scrolling through Instagram.

Pattaratornkosohn said she came across Aylen Park’s 2018 Instagram post, which showed Park’s formal attire while on campus.

Since then, she has looked forward to the day she would finally wear formal attire to school, visualizing her and her friends taking over the quad while wearing a dress.

“I do feel kind of sad about it,” said Pattaratornkosohn, who has been learning from home in Cohort C the whole school year. “I won’t be dressing up because I don’t really have anywhere to go, but if we were at school again I would totally be dressing up.” 

Despite the ASB’s decision not to make “Junior Takeover” official, that doesn’t prevent any juniors coming to campus or Zooming from home to get dressed up since the school has no dress code policy against dressing for success, Aurelio said.

“Even if you’re online, it would be great to still [dress up],” Aurelio said.

And that’s exactly what junior Max Lopez, who is in Cohort C, plans to do.

“I have heard of Junior Takeover, and ever since freshman year, I’ve looked forward to it,” said Lopez, who plans to be dressed in a shirt and tie. “It seemed like a cool ‘official’ way of becoming a senior.”

“I don’t see why I wouldn’t promote it on my [Instagram] story since there is a meaning behind it,” said Lopez.

Unlike Lopez, junior Tesneem Hassan never heard about this event.

“Regardless, it seems like it would have been super fun,” Hassan said. “If I were going to school in person, I feel like the environment might push me to attend these types of events and I’d be more encouraged to be a part of Junior Takeover.”