Crystal Ball: Senior Home Edition

It’s the year 2093, and Stoughton High School’s senior class of 2023 is just starting to wake up, stretch their arthritic joints, and pop in their dentures for another beautiful day at the SHS senior home.
Sunlight gently streams through the senior home’s windows and a gentle breeze flutters through the garden. Lilly LaPointe, Lizzie Wacker, Zoe Lulinski, and Ella Post roll out their yoga mats and practice some elderly-friendly stretches while Ava Parr, Belinda Akale, and Madison Luick move through the senior community garden wielding large pruning shears and baskets of tomatoes. You can hear the flute music being played by Samantha Austin. It’s a picture of serenity. Until shouts and crashes are heard from inside!
It’s chaos inside the senior home! Morgan Masten, Shay Sweeney, and Alyssa Rein run down the hallway holding a basket full of knitting supplies triumphantly in the air as Luke McPhee, Jack Kicera, Mason Marggi, and Michael Turner chase after them, desperately trying to get their nearly-finished Christmas sweaters back.
Connor Lyons and Mary Kate McNulty try to help by throwing their canes in front of the perpetrators, but only succeed in tripping Annabelle Gates, Alyssa Kuhn, Charlotte Franseen, and Julia Cisewski, who fall backward. They accidentally knock over the chess board inspected by Valon Ashiku, Adren Schotzko, and Caleb Krentz, who immediately set up a new game.
Pranks like this have become increasingly common. Just last week, Charlie Mehring had quietly unraveled Will Rotar, Jack Spangler, Caleb Herbst, and Carson Hanson’s matching pink robes, leaving them shivering in their matching pink slippers.
And the week before that, funny photos of George Standard and Luke Thorson had mysteriously appeared on the senior home’s bulletin board. They were quickly taken down, only to be replaced with silly photos of Ephraim Gates, Skylar Forsythe, Erald Hashani, and Xavier Vogt. Nobody confessed to the crime, but there were rumors on Floor 3 that it had been Emma Anderson, Abbigail Ross, Haily Leis, and Alora Collins hanging the old photographs.
Order has been regained in the senior home, but the hurt feelings from the prank-filled weeks are on full display. Always the peacemakers, Shelby Holden, John Andreas, Mariah Starks, and Grace Bradley suggest enrolling the entire senior home in group therapy, which is loudly protested against by Bhoomi Patel and Ashley Liddicoat, who would rather do anything than talk about their feelings.
The senior home puts it to a vote, and decides to let Harrison VanGilder and Adam Bauer run the therapy session, despite their lack of a counseling license. Claire Hoppe, Morgan Twedt, and Owen Weitner reason that since everyone loves music, the group should use music therapy to bring everyone closer together. Wynter Vogt, Jade Garfoot, and Andy Schloesser enthusiastically agree to the idea, and Laura Perry and Sam Ross begin to belt tune after tune.
Ava Perkins and Janae Schecterle rush to the front of the room, quieting everyone else. They gaze into each other’s eyes before launching into a beautiful, heartfelt duet of Fergalicious. Evan Schmidt jumps up and starts to dance. He boogies a little too hard and breaks his knee, needing Daniel Knoploh, Evan Loftus, and Malia Rippe to carry him out of the room, still singing to Fergie.
Not willing to be outdone by anyone, Ben Morovic, Finn Novak, Jack Nielsen, and Hannah Teche whip out their instruments and begin playing the national anthem, bringing a tear to the eyes of Brenden Huston and Zane Breuch. The band begins playing a crowd favorite, “Handclap,” sending everyone into a state of nostalgia. Nick Johnson and Samuel Lawrence dance and sing along.
Lauren McDermott, Valen Miller, Eli Gomez, Asha Bluford, and Brandon Zeimet complain loudly that music therapy is a big waste of time, since their instruments are upstairs, and they really can’t be bothered to go tune them. Kendall Steinmetz, Jazmin Lopez Ordonez, and Tia Williamson nod their heads aggressively in agreement, and group therapy is over.
But the day has barely begun, and the senior home still has plenty of activities to keep the class of 2023 occupied. Kion East and Brogen Vitense-Klingamen get Noah Nedbalek, Arber Misini, Aidan Eldridge, and Robert Hughes together to play a massive game of hide and seek.
Kyah Tribune begins the countdown, but quickly forgets what she was doing, and dozes off. Alayna Procter shakes her awake and the two go looking for the rest of their senior class. They quickly find Etta Lee hiding behind a potted plant, and Brayden Hemenway and Sean Milbrath attempting to dangle from the ceiling light.
Priscilla Medina and Tamica Evans try to camouflage themselves into the curtains, but this unfortunately doesn’t work. The seekers find Jaxon Lee and Aidan Reda hiding under their cars in the senior home garage, and they both claim they hadn’t even been playing. Others were not as easy to find, like Kody Kum and Karson Ouk who were hidden so well, eventually everyone gave up and ended the game early.
Being old is hard, and everyone’s tired after the long game of hide and seek, so all the seniors decide to take a short nap. It’s a throwback to kindergarten, as Molly Monthie, Gretchen Bridges, and Savannah Hendrickson go around tucking everyone in and handing out sleeping mats for the group.
Tyler Friedrichs, Rowan Gunnick, Emmanuel Haslett, and William Withers try to belly crawl out of the room to play shuffleboard, but Liam and Zoe Tremain-Woodcock convince them to stick around.
Garrison Fursth and Bjorn Seybold sleep, holding each other, and Sammi Quam, Aven Gruner, Avery Lamberty, and Alexa Short, who aren’t tired enough to sleep, quietly color pictures of each other.
When nap time is over, Oliver LaPointe, Eddie Beckstrom, and Jimmy Fitzgibbon are sleeping so peacefully that nobody wants to disturb them, and everyone tiptoes out of the room, shushing Brady Skaar, Seth Sullivan, and Dawson Woods who were whispering about who would find them some chocolate pudding.
The nap refreshes the senior home, and everyone is filled with a youthlike energy, almost as if they were 18 again. Abygail Conway, Ted Trotter, and Connor Wilson race around at high speeds of 5 MPH on their electric scooters, while Bethany Albers, Brooklynn Robinson, and Miranda Sullivan try to convince Lisbeth Lathrop, Elisabeth Gomez, Rayna Bessette, and Taliyah Juarez that “High School Musical” had been filmed in Stoughton.
The sun is shining, so the seniors decide to head outside! Meg Anderson, Dylan Fitzgerald and Iris Bukrey play fetch with their pets, and Julia Hedstrom, Cierra Klyce, and Ashlee Bittrick, along with MaQuess Noe-Lee, Lily Sorenson, and Sofia Pongratz soak up the sun. Jonah Fjelstad, Preston Doughtie, Braylon Kane, and Noah Kellerman take turns blowing bubbles.
In the courtyard an eating competition is being organized! It’s Tristan Delgado, Shawn Girling, and Ethan Hanson competing over who can eat the most hotdogs in ten minutes. But Lauren Amstadt wins in a landslide victory, surprising everyone with just how many hotdogs she can eat. Maddie Reott, Mallory Reiser, and Jordan Packard eye each other and feel queasy just watching.
In the pool, Max Mueller, Dylan Hill, Campbell Sehmer, and Nick Carpenter splash around and push each other into the water, forcing Aly Schaefer, Kali Seamonson, Sedona Trumm, and Natalie Nelson to evict them from the pool. In the shallow end, Noelle Hanson, Hayley Millard, and Ellee Milota do peaceful water aerobics, led by Griffin Empey and Quinn Bonti wearing flowered swim caps with inflated arm floaties. James Mahieu, Casey Milbauer, Anthony Yungen, and Roger Simms take turns doing pencil dives off the diving board.
Cassidy Link starts to struggle to stay afloat, and cries for help, despite standing in three feet of water. Lillian Talbert heroically jumps into the pool, receiving enthusiastic applause from Emma Chase. Mady Buell, Mina Paulsen, and Mariah Clausen stand huddled on the pool deck, and Chance Suddeth nearly faints from the drama of it all.
Victoria Camiou-Cattino and Carley O’Neil decide to stay on the safe, dry ground, and the crowd disperses. Kayla Stuckey, Natalee Gerber, and Lauren Hainline practice their flower arrangements, while Avery Rhinerson, Austin Overton, and Drake Dunn start a game of rugby, which accidentally sends Hayleigh Chandler, Abigail Adams, and Daniel Sweeney to the infirmary.
Luke Meier, Tanner Wevley, Braden Wilker, and Alex Espasandin decide to sneak away for a drive through Stoughton’s back roads, and Dylan Litzkow and Teagan Pickett watch them go, winking exaggeratedly and silently agreeing not to tell anyone. But Ruth Foldy, Karlie Olson, Thitichaya Phuchiaochanwit, and Erica Ree didn’t get the memo and feared there had been an abduction! The silver alert is set off, and Jestine Johnson, Eliza Rexhepi, Kayela Whitmore, and Sydney Scheel mobilize a search party to find their friends. Jacob Ihm and Austin Iverson call the missing seniors, who promise to come back, eventually.
Patrick Lyons, Jeffrey Radecke, Carter Blackburn, Tristen Barton, and Braeden Ylvisaker take this opportunity to raid the senior home kitchen, while Megan Blommel, Brianna Hook, Ciré Smith, Amelia Albers, and Brianna Radecke bake cakes, brownies, and muffins to share with everyone. All this baking leaves Eve Wevley, Allia Taamallah, Kristina Weber, and Taylor Havlicek completely covered in flour. Jordan Bellisle, Alana Ringen, and Celeste Terrill Collins shake their heads, pull on rubber gloves, and get to work cleaning the kitchen before they get in trouble.
Night is beginning to fall at the SHS senior home, and everyone gathers for themed bingo. Tonight’s theme was costume party, and each senior arrived dressed to impress. Ella Lanoway, Jade Day, and Lily Kleven come dressed as cheerleaders. Jayden Hillery, Gaze Morgan, Owen Reinecke, and Jordan Scates come dressed in their bingo best, with green visors and their reading glasses clipped onto their shirts. Paige Swatek, Claire Spilde, Faith Radecke, and Olivia Brown come in their old high school clothes, rocking some 2023 fashion.
Seeing the outfits that were popular back in the ‘20s sends the seniors into a bout of nostalgia. Helena Kolhoff and June Weier decide to finally put into action the idea they had been planning for months, sneaking back out to SHS. Word spreads fast in the SHS senior home, and Lexie Linhart-Konichek and Ashlyn Nelson go around gathering their friends.
The seniors rally up on their scooters and head down the street. After a nice drive, they make it to the doors of Stoughton High School. Evan Mason, Damion Moreno, Caleb Nelson, and Mario Robinson immediately head down to the cafeteria to remember the delicious food, which is pretty darn close to the food in the senior home. Reinaldo Torna and Lawrence Gates walk through the testing rooms and can’t help but think how good kids have it nowadays with the new Desmos 4.0.
Timothy Nolan, Thayden Nelson, Joshuia Billups, and Sam Anderson all try to locate their old lockers, and are confused when their old lock combos don’t quite do the trick. Sydney Frasier, Amber Kalagian, and Baylee Koch sneak into the back of a classroom watching – even now – “The Great Gatsby,” and have to contain their excitement at the revelation of all the plot twists they’d forgotten.
Lauren Dedrick, Ani Allen, Learta Ahmeti, and Elsa Misini call over the intercom for all the seniors to head to the football field for one last hurrah at SHS.
Slowly but surely, the seniors make their way to Collins Field. Sonya Hor, Anneliese Lemberger, Keilley Riddle, and Kyanna Williamson reminisce about the day of their high school graduation. It’s been 70 years, and the class of 2023 had come full circle. Their memories aren’t quite as they used to be, but they still remember every moment of their final year of high school. There are tearful hugs, as everyone realizes that the people standing around them had been with them through some of the strangest, toughest, and most fun years of their lives.
As the sun sets, Jonniya Conley, Kamalei Feiteria, Angele Granger, and Kaitlyn Hanson realize they should go back to the senior home before they all get in trouble. They vow to (try to) never forget their final high school days or any of the times that led up to them, no matter how embarrassing or sappy they might seem.
Just as the senior citizens are about to take off, they see a figure in the distance making its way toward the class of 2023. As the figure gets closer, gasps rise through the crowd. Ella Phillips points and yells, “It’s Mr. Kruse!”
And sure enough, there he is, their famed principal, there to deliver one last message to the students he had all those years ago.
“Get off the field!”