Edina Zephyrus

Uncovering the mystery and tradition behind Senior Women apparel

Brooke Sheehy, administration beat lead

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Most Edina High School students are aware of the senior women traditional sweatshirts and spirit wear that are sported by many senior girls a few times a month. However, most students are not aware of when or how the tradition started in the first place.

Like many traditions, the origins of senior apparel are hazy. According to Arlene DesJardins, class of 1956, the tradition had not yet been introduced when she attended EHS. “Wasn’t around when we were in school 1951-1956. We were only allowed to wear slacks, not jeans, on Fridays. Nobody complained, it just was expected for us to comply,” DesJardins said.

In a two week long investigation, connecting with Edina alumni graduates between 10 and 60 years ago, it has been concluded that the unofficial start of the Senior Women tradition was in the late 70’s, with its first traceable acronym: SWATS (Senior Women Add Team Spirit) from class of ‘78.

In the following five years, it appears that the senior “women” exclusivity of the acronym disappeared. The class of ‘80 acronym was SCREAM (Senior Cougars Raise Enthusiasm and Motivation) and class of ‘83 was SAVAGES (Seniors Advocate Various Activities Generating Enthusiastic Spirit). It appears the only similarity between the three acronyms is that they are all associated with enthusiasm and team spirit. It wasn’t until the class of ‘86 that the “Senior Women” exclusivity resurfaced with the acronym SWILL, and the message that this acronym and each one to follow changed from a message of school pride to a message of highly classified information, creating an ‘I’d tell you but then I would have to kill you’ code between the senior women and the rest of the school.  

In an article from the yearbook titled “The Reign of Swill,” the senior women of ‘87 were classified as a women-only organization that performed an annual skit at the pep fests, acclaimed for their tie-dyed shirts and distressed jeans. As the sophomores, wondered what the senior women group was, juniors and seniors were more interested in finding out the secret meaning behind the SWILL acronym. There were a variety of ideas floating around the school, but it remained amongst the senior women as to which one was the correct one.

What is interesting about the senior women tradition in ‘86 was that it was more than just female students wearing matching sweatshirts to school. Senior Women was an actual club at the school that participated in fundraising events and school activities. “They went on in November to collect 7,000 cans for the canned food drive, beating ABUF for the first time in the history of the organizations,” the anonymous yearbook staff writer of ‘87 said. ABUF (A Bunch Uf Fools) was strictly a men’s organization created with the purpose of getting people to participate in school activities. They followed the technique of competition, such as their bet with SWILL in the food drive) to amplify student motivation.

There is some question as to whether the Senior Women Organization started as a copycat of ABUF, to make a female equivalent to this ever so popular club at EHS. “The senior women of ‘86-’87 were a united group of girls whose participation in school spirit activities will not be forgotten. Swill was an excellent example for future senior women to follow,” the anonymous yearbook staff writer of ‘93 said. In the 80’s, the senior women tradition may have lost its team spirit acronym, but it appears to have evolved to be a widely admired organization for its physical participation in school activities.

The tradition of senior women being a true organization that works together to make a change in the school and community has been traced all the way to the class of ‘93 who used the acronym SWADM that year. Their biggest event that year was a Halloween party that the organization hosted at the local YMCA. All seniors, including boys, were invited to the party, and all entry fees went towards the canned food drive competition against ABUF, a tradition that seems to have lasted six years in the making.

What remains true to this day is the fact that the acronym chosen each year is a complete secret to those who are not senior women. However, what ever happened to the intention of the tradition: to bring school spirit and create a strong bond amongst all senior women? It appears that the true meaning of the tradition has been lost along with ABUF. EHS, maybe it is time to bring them both back, and restore a 40-year-old tradition that brought so much mystery and life to the school year.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Contributors
Brooke Sheehy, administration beat lead

Sit back and relax folks because it’s time for you to meet today’s eligible bachelorettes! And here they are. Bachelorette number one is a workaholic who spends her days at Hallmark, a dry cleaner in Edina, Minnesota. At 16 years of age, she is an enthusiastic unlicensed driver and has not killed anybody in over a week. Her hobbies include painting, reading, writing, and ignoring all six of her boisterous sisters. You could also say that she is amazingly talented, super creative, incredibly kind, a math whiz, but most of all a DIE HARD Maroon 5 fan! She has a soft spot for small animals and has two adorable pugs that she spends many of her few free hours waiting on. She enjoys iced coffee with half and half from Starbucks everyday that she gets a paycheck. Although she claims to be “Divergent,” her true Hogwarts house is Gryffindor, shown by her bravery and stupidity.  SHE (WILL BE) LOVE(D)s the Minnesota Wild and will not let you forget it (did you see her favorite song hidden in there somewhere?)! When she isn’t hitting the books she loves having late night dinners and spontaneous movie nights, so the best way to win this young lady’s heart is through Chinese food, especially cream cheese wontons and lo mein. In fact, if you are going to approach her at all, bring a fortune cookie, because she keeps them all in her wallet and often goes through them to see which ones have come true (she’s a true believer). Please welcome the wonderful and fabulous Brooke Sheehy.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Mallika Srinivas, artist

Mallika Srinivas is a sophomore at Edina High School. Her role on Zephyrus is officially described as an artist. However, she has the tendency to pretend that she is a photographer so she can leave class early or go on the field for the football games. Some may call her a genius, others may call her dumb. A dumb genius at best. She is loosely described as “a chicken nugget stealing overachiever who is the best at roasting.” Her talents span from aggressively shoving her friends into lockers to playing on the JV Girls Tennis Team. Catch her shriveled up in her bed this winter after the tennis season is through.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

Zephyrus welcomes and encourages our readers to engage in our content through substantive, respectful exchanges. To ensure our comments meet these standards, Zephyrus reviews all comments before publication and does not allow comments which contain profanity, vulgarity, racial slurs, or personal attacks, or which are uncivil and off topic. Any comments that violate these standards will be removed. Removed comments may be reconsidered for publication if they are rephrased according to the Terms of Use.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
The official student-run news publication of Edina High School.
Uncovering the mystery and tradition behind Senior Women apparel