Connetquot High School seniors were permitted to purchase and paint their own parking spots for the year, with the money going back to the student government to lower the cost of other events throughout the year. Credit: Newsday/James Carbone

As the school year shifts into gear across Long Island, some high school seniors are marking the final lap of their education with their first “bucket list” activity of the year — painting their parking spots. That spot will then be theirs every day until they walk down the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance.”

At Connetquot High School in Bohemia, for instance, hundreds of seniors pay $30 each to claim a spot and decorate it with designs including a depiction of Snoopy and Woodstock, scenes from “Alice in Wonderland,” meaningful Japanese characters, and a representation of the starting line from a track meet. Many also include their initials and 2023 — the year they’ll graduate.

“I don’t have a car, I bike and walk here,” says student government vice president Mirza Mahim, 16, of Ronkonkoma, a Connetquot senior who painted Japanese characters on the ground. Still, he purchased a spot to participate in the festive two days during August when students gathered to show school spirit, listen to music, hang out with friends and paint, he says. “It’s the first event we host for our senior year,” Mahim says. The money raised goes toward subsidizing other school activities, such as homecoming, he adds.

Connetquot isn’t the only school on Long Island that embraces the parking spot painting. Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, for instance, also has students pay $25 each to paint a parking spot, although they don’t personalize them with their names because anybody can park in any spot after the decorating is done. They’ll be creating artwork on Sept. 17, 24 and Oct. 1, says April Kaufman, a co-advisor for the senior class. “Our goal is to fill the whole student parking lot,” she says.

Parking spot painting is just the beginning of the milestone activities seniors are looking forward to at various schools across the island before they make it to, of course, prom and graduation.

Here are five other “bucket list” moments coming up this year:

On the first day of senior year at some Long Island High Schools such as Long Beach, West Hempstead and The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, seniors watch the sunrise before entering school together. “I really wanted to go to Senior Sunrise because it’s important to celebrate a passage of time and be with all my friends I’ve been with since kindergarten,” says Efthymia Kaparos, 16, a Wheatley School senior from Roslyn Heights. “At the end of the year, we also have senior sunset to symbolize the end of the school year, and everyone says their goodbyes.”

In the coming weeks, seniors at Cold Spring Harbor will do their own artwork — they’ve been submitting sketches for the annual painting of a mural on the wall of the Senior Commons in the school’s cafeteria. “The class of '22 is already painted over and it’s ready for them,” says Christine Oswald, K-12 department chair for the district. The mural typically will reflect what the class has been through, and students say they are considering a scoreboard theme, with the score being 20 to 23 — to denote their graduation year, says Ava Abatemarco, 17, of Cold Spring Harbor. That will also symbolize their win in overcoming hurdles. “Our class is the COVID class, it was ninth grade when we first started high school,” says Madison Brass, 17, a senior from Lloyd Harbor. “We conquered that huge roadblock.” A picture of the mural then will become the first page of the senior section of the school yearbook.

In the spring of 2023, Locust Valley High School seniors will host their traditional lip-syncing event, during which seniors perform routines to popular songs. “It’s kind of like a red-carpet event. It’s very glamorous. It makes you feel like you’re in the spotlight,” says senior Olivia Del Tatto, 17, of Bayville, who is also student council president. The audience votes on a winner. Lip-sync isn’t their only staged event — the class also has a senior fashion show, modeling clothing from local businesses. “To have these kinds of events that bring everybody together … is really cool,” says Lindsay Nikolai, 17, of Locust Valley.

A number of high schools across Long Island — Commack, Sayville, George W. Hewlett, to name a few — have seniors dress in their caps and gowns and return to their elementary schools to visit their former teachers and "wow" the younger students. At Sayville High, it’s called Inspiration Walk, and it takes place during June on the same day as the Senior Barbecue. The seniors walk the hallways of the three elementary schools in their purple and gold regalia, while students and teachers cheer them on. It has a “trifecta” benefit, says Sayville principal Ron Hoffer. “The seniors get to celebrate and reminisce with their elementary school teachers. They have an opportunity to model for our elementary school students what they can and should aspire to. Teachers in primary grades get to see firsthand how their efforts have come to fruition,” Hoffer says. “There’s a lot of photo ops. I call it a Kleenex moment. Tears of joy and good emotions.”

At Huntington High School, seniors end their career nostalgically — on their last day, they throw it back to Field Day, an event just like the ones they had in grade school. Teams compete in potato sack races, three-legged races, life-size Jenga competition and at the end even get ice cream. "Field Day creates memorable experiences for students and gives kids a chance to unwind and let loose. The day is special to me because it gives everyone the ability to become active and enjoy the moment," says Mackenzie Ahern, 17, of Huntington, who is this year's senior class president. The senior class end the day with a countdown of their last minute of school. “It’s really kind of touching,” says principal Brenden Cusack.

As the school year shifts into gear across Long Island, some high school seniors are marking the final lap of their education with their first “bucket list” activity of the year — painting their parking spots. That spot will then be theirs every day until they walk down the aisle to “Pomp and Circumstance.”

At Connetquot High School in Bohemia, for instance, hundreds of seniors pay $30 each to claim a spot and decorate it with designs including a depiction of Snoopy and Woodstock, scenes from “Alice in Wonderland,” meaningful Japanese characters, and a representation of the starting line from a track meet. Many also include their initials and 2023 — the year they’ll graduate.

“I don’t have a car, I bike and walk here,” says student government vice president Mirza Mahim, 16, of Ronkonkoma, a Connetquot senior who painted Japanese characters on the ground. Still, he purchased a spot to participate in the festive two days during August when students gathered to show school spirit, listen to music, hang out with friends and paint, he says. “It’s the first event we host for our senior year,” Mahim says. The money raised goes toward subsidizing other school activities, such as homecoming, he adds.

Leah Naccarato, 17, a senior at Connetquot High School, paints...

Leah Naccarato, 17, a senior at Connetquot High School, paints her parking spot outside the school on Aug. 30, with the help of her friend Julia Monkan, 17, also a senior. Credit: James Carbone

Connetquot isn’t the only school on Long Island that embraces the parking spot painting. Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, for instance, also has students pay $25 each to paint a parking spot, although they don’t personalize them with their names because anybody can park in any spot after the decorating is done. They’ll be creating artwork on Sept. 17, 24 and Oct. 1, says April Kaufman, a co-advisor for the senior class. “Our goal is to fill the whole student parking lot,” she says.

Parking spot painting is just the beginning of the milestone activities seniors are looking forward to at various schools across the island before they make it to, of course, prom and graduation.

Here are five other “bucket list” moments coming up this year:

Senior Sunrise … and Sunset

High school seniors check in during Wheatley Heights Senior Sunrise...

High school seniors check in during Wheatley Heights Senior Sunrise day to kick off the new school year on Aug. 31. Credit: Johnny Milano/Johnny Milano

On the first day of senior year at some Long Island High Schools such as Long Beach, West Hempstead and The Wheatley School in Old Westbury, seniors watch the sunrise before entering school together. “I really wanted to go to Senior Sunrise because it’s important to celebrate a passage of time and be with all my friends I’ve been with since kindergarten,” says Efthymia Kaparos, 16, a Wheatley School senior from Roslyn Heights. “At the end of the year, we also have senior sunset to symbolize the end of the school year, and everyone says their goodbyes.”

Senior Mural

In the coming weeks, seniors at Cold Spring Harbor will do their own artwork — they’ve been submitting sketches for the annual painting of a mural on the wall of the Senior Commons in the school’s cafeteria. “The class of '22 is already painted over and it’s ready for them,” says Christine Oswald, K-12 department chair for the district. The mural typically will reflect what the class has been through, and students say they are considering a scoreboard theme, with the score being 20 to 23 — to denote their graduation year, says Ava Abatemarco, 17, of Cold Spring Harbor. That will also symbolize their win in overcoming hurdles. “Our class is the COVID class, it was ninth grade when we first started high school,” says Madison Brass, 17, a senior from Lloyd Harbor. “We conquered that huge roadblock.” A picture of the mural then will become the first page of the senior section of the school yearbook.

Senior lip-sync

In the spring of 2023, Locust Valley High School seniors will host their traditional lip-syncing event, during which seniors perform routines to popular songs. “It’s kind of like a red-carpet event. It’s very glamorous. It makes you feel like you’re in the spotlight,” says senior Olivia Del Tatto, 17, of Bayville, who is also student council president. The audience votes on a winner. Lip-sync isn’t their only staged event — the class also has a senior fashion show, modeling clothing from local businesses. “To have these kinds of events that bring everybody together … is really cool,” says Lindsay Nikolai, 17, of Locust Valley.

Senior Inspiration Walk

A number of high schools across Long Island — Commack, Sayville, George W. Hewlett, to name a few — have seniors dress in their caps and gowns and return to their elementary schools to visit their former teachers and "wow" the younger students. At Sayville High, it’s called Inspiration Walk, and it takes place during June on the same day as the Senior Barbecue. The seniors walk the hallways of the three elementary schools in their purple and gold regalia, while students and teachers cheer them on. It has a “trifecta” benefit, says Sayville principal Ron Hoffer. “The seniors get to celebrate and reminisce with their elementary school teachers. They have an opportunity to model for our elementary school students what they can and should aspire to. Teachers in primary grades get to see firsthand how their efforts have come to fruition,” Hoffer says. “There’s a lot of photo ops. I call it a Kleenex moment. Tears of joy and good emotions.”

Senior Field Day

At Huntington High School, seniors end their career nostalgically — on their last day, they throw it back to Field Day, an event just like the ones they had in grade school. Teams compete in potato sack races, three-legged races, life-size Jenga competition and at the end even get ice cream. "Field Day creates memorable experiences for students and gives kids a chance to unwind and let loose. The day is special to me because it gives everyone the ability to become active and enjoy the moment," says Mackenzie Ahern, 17, of Huntington, who is this year's senior class president. The senior class end the day with a countdown of their last minute of school. “It’s really kind of touching,” says principal Brenden Cusack.