After decades of tradition, walrus elders gather for tea

Members of Morse High School’s senior class may be looking forward to their future, but they spent Thursday night participating in a school tradition that dates back to 1953.

More than 150 pupils and family members gathered at the school on Thursday for Senior Tea, an annual event first organized by a local women’s club and recently taken over by the Bath High School Alumni Association. The celebration, which features the same teacups and silverware Morse students have used since the Eisenhower administration, is a way to honor the senior class while introducing them to the alumni community, according to the event organizer. Holly Lowe event.

“We want these kids back,” she said. “We want them to have the connection that we have.”

Thursday’s Senior Tea event featured the same teacups and cutlery used in the original 1953 event. Contribution / Bath High School Alumni Association

The event has changed since Lowe’s Senior Tea in 1979. What was once a dressed-up, all-girls gathering at the Cosmopolitan Club, with hats and gloves, became a co-ed celebration at Morse High School.

Still, it remains a milestone for seniors, kicking off the home stretch to graduation, Lowe said.

“Everything you did from then on was the last time you were going to do it,” she recalled.

Other Morse alumni, like Barbara Billings, have only vague, albeit sunny, memories or their own senior teas. Yet when the Cosmopolitan Club closed in 2018, the Association was quick to save the event in order to stay in touch with the band’s past and future.

“If we don’t get them involved when (the students) are in high school and we don’t keep them involved, they won’t come back,” said Billings, who graduated in 1960. “I know he was harder to get them to come back.”

The Alumni Association, founded in 1891, is one of the oldest and most active in the country, according to Billings. Every June hundreds of former Morse students, some of whom graduated as early as 1941, return to Bath for a busy alumni weekend that includes a golf tournament, 5K and banquet.

Students and their families gather for the 2019 Senior Tea event at Mae’s Cafe & Bakery. Contribution / Bath High School Alumni Association

“You just have to come to a Bath High School alumni banquet; then you’ll see why I stay connected,” said Ann London of the Class of 1980. “To see the reunion classes, walk into the gym…with the song ‘Blue & White’ playing, it gives me flesh of chicken.

In recent years, however, fewer recent graduates have become active members, according to President Kelsey Marco. She attributed the trend in part to the pandemic limiting recent in-person events, but also noted growing transience among graduates and workers.

Marco, a former class president and cheerleader and daughter of former Morse assets, sees Senior Tea as an opportunity to bring a new generation into the fold.

“Morse has always been very close to my heart,” she said. “I just want to make sure that all of our events, our mission and the spirit stays alive for years to come.”

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