On any other day, teenagers primed with paintbrushes and bucket of paint might be guilty of creating graffiti but on Thursday, a long-standing Neosho High School rite of passage will continue, turning graffiti into a graduation tradition.
Graduating seniors will paint Senior Hill, the portion of Hill Street that runs adjacent to the campus. Each will have a measured square to use as their canvas. Some students will share their spaces and their creations run from simple name and graduation year to actual art.
Students will paint Senior Hill beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, weather permitting. The rain date, if needed, will be Friday.
The tradition dates back to the 1960's or 1970's when a few students painted on the hill without permission and under the cover of darkness. The covert operation took place originally happened after Baccalaureate and the administration looked the other way. More than once, students in past years got carried away and the school district considered ending the custom.
Eventually, the school decided to sanction the tradition and moved the event to daytime, under the supervision of staff. Students also must turn in their design prior to painting the hill so that artwork remains family friendly and school approved.
Since it's a tradition, many students have parents or grandparents who also painted the hill. Family members often show up to watch the fun.
Painting senior hill has been known to get more than a little messy and bystanders should beware - they might get splattered with some paint by accident.
Hill Street will be blocked off from the high school to Oak Ridge drive during the painting and afterward to allow the paint to dry. Seniors, other students, family members as well as the public will admire this year's art.
The Neosho Daily News will have photos from the event afterward, both in our print edition and on our Facebook page - another tradition.