Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Wauwatosa East and West Student News

The Tosa Compass

Seniors Celebrate Final Days at Tosa West

Avianah Zarnowski
Over 250 seniors gathered on the balcony to participate in the annual paper toss.

On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. Schools began to turn to online resources to continue classes, test scores declined, and schools began facing staff shortages. For the Class of 2024, they know this better than anyone. And now, those same students are saying goodbye.

Students gathered around balcony in preparation of the paper toss at Tosa West.

Monday, June 3rd was the last full day of classes for all the students. Despite the tearful goodbyes from the graduates, the annual paper toss at Tosa West was one last event the upperclassmen had together before their final goodbye at graduation. The paper toss signifies the end of an era, and now a start for a new one– a life outside the doors of Tosa West.

“[High school being over] is very bittersweet ‘cause I made a lot of good memories here… but I’m also very excited to start a new chapter and move on to bigger and better things,” says senior, Alma Hagopian-Smith. 

Students began gathering around the library balcony at 2:45pm to get a spot. Getting a good spot around the balcony is crucial to accommodate the over 250 graduates. The rest of the school began crowding the learning center, right below the area where the paper drop would happen.

Students who could no longer wait to begin began throwing papers off the balcony early.

Earlier in the week, students organized the papers they had accumulated throughout their senior year so they could toss them to the ground below.

“I am excited. I’ve been waiting to do this for a while and I’ve been collecting my papers. I feel relieved and excited [to graduate] but also sad to leave everyone”, Melina Keenan, a graduating senior explains. Furthermore, Natalia Byrne, another graduating senior exclaims “I think it’s a really fun tradition, just cause like, it gives you something to do on the last bell. It’s like satisfying [to toss the papers].”

Student, Harrison Liang with the papers he accumulated over the years.



Senior Harrison Liang has planned for this moment since his freshman year. Liang showed up several minutes later, but not without reason. Liang had brought a 70-pound suitcase containing all the worksheets and folders he had collected over the past four years. Liang explains, “I feel very prepared [for the paper toss] because I’ve been saving this since freshman year. It’s good that I get to throw this all away [because] all the knowledge is up in the brain, and that’s what matters.”

The official start time for the paper toss is at 3:10 pm, right at the last bell. Students counted down from 10. When they reached zero, thousands of loose-leaf papers, folders, and notebooks were thrown off the balcony. One student even tossed their backpack.

Following a countdown from 10, graduating seniors tossed papers from the balcony.





Below, teachers and the rest of the student body cheered.

While the paper drop does leave a large mess, it is one of the most cherished traditions at Wauwatosa West.



Seniors received a catered Chick-Fil-A lunch in celebration of their final day of school.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024, was the final day for seniors at Tosa West before graduation. In celebration, the school prepared some activities for the students to do during their last hours together. At 10:55 am, the seniors went out to the football field for a catered Chick-fil-A lunch as a way to have one last lunch together.

“I think it’s a great way,” said senior Kelly Weber, “It’s still really nice that they’re like recognizing the seniors and it kind of feels like all the work is paid off. It was very good.”

After the students finished their lunch, they were invited to participate in the annual elementary school walk at 2:00pm.

Many seniors returned to Madison Elementary School for their elementary walk.

Every year, high school graduates are invited to visit their elementary schools where everything started. Even those students who did not attend a Wauwatosa elementary school were invited to walk through Eisenhower Elementary, the neighboring primary school to West.

“It’s kind of surreal,” said senior Allie Kratochvil, “but [I’m] very ready. I think the whole graduation will be fun and it’s exciting to be able to enjoy pre-graduation stuff with fellow seniors”.

Between the paper toss, catered lunch, elementary walk, and graduation, West seniors experienced a busy, but exhilarating end to their high school career.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tosa Compass

The Tosa Compass is the only dedicated Wauwatosa newspaper, providing quality news coverage. Your donation will support the student journalists of Wauwatosa East and West, helping us purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Avianah Zarnowski
Avianah Zarnowski is a freshman at Tosa West. This is her first year writing, photographing, and editing for the Tosa Compass. Outside of student journalism, her passions lie in dance and music.
Jennifer Liang, Editor
Jennifer Liang is a Senior at Wauwatosa West High School. She is an editor and social media manger on Tosa Compass. Passionate about community engagement, Liang loves creating content that connects with students. Outside of class, Liang enjoys practicing tennis and volunteering.
Donate to The Tosa Compass

Comments (0)

All The Tosa Compass Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *