CHS Administrators Respond to Outcry over Repainted ‘Senior Rock’

A 27,000-pound boulder originally donated and dedicated to mark the “rocky end” to the Class of 2020’s academic careers was always intended to be repainted each year to honor the new crop of seniors, Canby High School officials said this week.

Administrators sent a statement to the community Friday after some residents expressed indignation about the rock being repainted on the local Facebook group Canby Now.

“Why did the high school paint over the class of 2020 rock?” a user asked, in a post that drew nearly 100 responses. “When this was the only thing given to the senior class for commemoration! … It’s a really huge disappointment and let down on the district’s part.”

The rock had previously been marked in honor of the Class of 2020.

The rock had been painted blue and gold and emblazoned with the words “Seniors” and “2020” for months, until it was rebranded in advance of the 2021 Graduation All Night Party drive-thru kick-off Wednesday afternoon.

According to the statement by administrators — that was always part of the plan.

“Each year, the senior class will have the honor of repainting the ‘Senior Rock,'” administrators said in the emailed statement. “We will also make sure the ‘baby rocks’ (those small rocks seniors personalized and included) are a permanent part of the ‘Senior Rock.’ We don’t know what that looks like yet.”

Courtesy Canby High School.

The 13.5-ton monolith had been donated and installed by local contractors and excavators, who wanted to honor the senior class that lost the final three months of its public school career — including in-person graduation and other rites.

In lieu of traditional forms of celebrating graduating students’ achievements, administrators, teachers, parents and community members had pivoted to other projects, like surprising each senior with a yard sign in May and lining downtown Canby with banners honoring the class.

“2020 was a year like no other!” administrators said in the email. “We worked hard to create memories for the Class of 2020, the class that got their senior year cut short. The tradition of the ‘Senior Rock’ started with the Class of 2020, and each class thereafter will be celebrated with their graduation year painted on the rock.”

Courtesy Canby High School.

Though the paint is gone, a permanent bronze plaque commemorating the Class of 2020 will be added to the boulder, administrators said, with a dedication ceremony planned once the marker is installed.

“The intent of the ‘Senior Rock’ is to celebrate each senior class,” administrators said. “The Class of 2021 is continuing that tradition that the Class of 2020 started – celebrating our amazing graduates and their accomplishments over the past four years.

“We are excited to celebrate with our current seniors, the Class of 2021, and with each senior class that comes after them!”

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