By Tim Kelly
Senior Week is a time that area high school seniors and recent grads traditionally spend a rite of passage week in Ocean City and other local shore towns.
2018 is no exception, although a rainy and chilly start literally put a damper on the festivities for many participants.
But on Tuesday, the sun came out, as did beach blankets, Spike Ball equipment, board shorts and bikinis. The Senior Weekers were making up for lost time.
“Just being on the beach and the boardwalk today was the highlight,” said Julia Marinari of Lansdale (Pa) High School who was in town with fellow senior Caitlin Sands and a group of other friends. After all, that’s why we came here in the first place.”
Until Tuesday’s break in the weather, Julia said her group of friends had been “hanging out and watching a whole lot of movies.”
Bryan Taylor, of Holy Ghost Prep in Bensalem, Pa., was with his buddies Sean Kerrigan, Kevin Mulcahy Brendan Mindiak and Paul Bizzaro. He said coming to Ocean City was a perfect break from the pressures and stress of their final exams and completing their college selections.
“It’s nice to just come to the boardwalk, or play some Spike Ball or other games on the beach,” he said. “We like the beach here because there’s plenty of room for us to spread out and (play beach sports).”
Four of the five are headed to college in Pittsburgh. Taylor and Kerrigan to Duquesne; Mulcahy and Mindiak to the University of Pittsburgh. Bizzaro will go in Georgia Tech in balmy Atlanta.
“We plan to get together next year in Pittsburgh and (Bizzaro) is welcome too, but only if he comes in the winter,” Taylor said.
At Philly Twist snack and sandwich bar, proprietor Heidi Thompson-Novasitis said Senior Weekers would account for a large percentage of business in a normal year, but this year’s soggy start meant things were slow.
“You can spot them a mile away,” she said of the visiting seniors, who love Philly Twist’s soft pretzels, chicken tenders and their signature authentic Philly cheesesteaks.
“You don’t have to offer anything fancy, it just has to be good,” she said, and the satisfied grin of customer Julia Neubaum of Downington (Pa.) East High School indicated Thompson-Novasitis’ goal had been achieved.
On the volleyball courts next to Wonderland, a spirited game was taking place with players from Camden Catholic High in Cherry Hill.
Other groups of Senior Week participants walked the boards, mixing easily and trying to interact with members of the opposite gender.
“It’s been hard to get out and meet girls so far because of the weather,” said a young man from North Penn High School in Lansdale, Pa. “but things have improved today. “We are looking now. We are on high alert.”