Carthage High School seniors have been swimming across a pond prior to graduation since 1982, and the tradition continued at the drainage pond this Wednesday.
Warned that there were snakes about, students were told to swim at their own risk, senior Kaylee Smith said before the swim. She wore a pink shirt custom made for the event and sent an inflatable doughnut into the water alongside several friends.
Many students voiced their excitement before the swim.
“I’m just excited really,” Kaegen McCallum said. “It’s kinda cool because I remember my brother doing it when I was young. It’s my turn to do it ... I’m actually really excited about it; I’m not worried about the snakes to be honest. I’ve been around snakes my whole life.”
Hallee Griffin also mentioned the family tradition of the jump.
“It’s exciting because my mom got to do it when she graduated high school, so it’s just awesome that we get to carry on the tradition...” she said. “I heard it’s snake season a lot, there’s a lot of snakes, but it’ll be fine.”
Students came out of the water none the worse in terms of snakes — but the water itself was less than pleasing.
“It was pretty gross,” Landyn Green said. “The water was disgusting, but I kind of feel like a new person — no I’m just kidding, that was disgusting. It was fun, not really that refreshing, not as refreshing as I thought it was gonna be.”
One group of students decided they were going to cross the pond using a inflatable unicorn that they blew up with a hair dryer. The unicorn soon presented problems, and students struggled to stay on top of it.
“Well, Shelby got on, and then I got on the unicorn, and then all of a sudden the unicorn was sideways,” Savanna Gwinn said of the experience. “And I lost my shoe; it got stuck in the bottom of the pond. So, needless to say, then Ashley pulled me off. But I won’t forget it. It was terrifying in the moment, but I’m really glad it happened after the fact. I was ready. I just knew the hair dryer blown up unicorn was gonna do the job, but it didn’t. At all.”
Kaeri Dixon helped rescue of the girls on the float.
“Well we have a city girl that’s really scared of the pond water, and then once it tipped she kind of freaked out, so we had to go back and save her,” Dixon said. “Kind of like Rapunzel and the long hair in the castle. ...She said ‘I cannot get in the pond water, do not let me get in the pond water,’ ... so I had to swim all the way back and go pull her.”