Every year, when the senior class is dismissed after taking final exams, seniors participate in a ritual that Jamie Andrews said may leave some other high schools in the area with pond envy.
They run across the street to the property of the under-construction Ascension Parish governmental complex, jump into a pond on the property and swim across while parents and teachers look on from the banks.
Known as the EA Pond Jump, students work ahead of time on creative bathing costumes and use a variety of floats during the practice.
This tradition began in the early 1970s by only a handful of each senior class, and was famously abolished in the early ’80s, only to be reintroduced by popular demand in the early ’90s.
“I started teaching at EA in 1994 and at that time it was just the seniors running out and jumping,” Andrews said. “Now it has become a spectator sport with parents and families gathering to take pictures and video of this tradition. One year the hospital even wanted to offer hot dogs ... to the spectators after realizing that they could not ban it from happening as it had become such a rite of tradition for our community.”
This year the senior class composed a chant specially for the jump, Andrews said, and for the second year in a row, they fired a confetti gun as the jump started — a tradition adopted from football games.
Andrews said the parish assured East Ascension that the tradition will continue, though there was some worry earlier in the year.
During the initial forming of the new building, construction crews drained the pond to build the wall. Rainfall filled the pond back up in plenty of time for the jump, Andrews said, minus a lot of the algae that was there before.