ELMSFORD, N.Y. – On a sunny day a few weeks before school began, seniors at Alexander Hamilton High School were laughing and giving one another high-fives as they painted the words "Making Our Own Luck" on a large wall near the athletic field.
For more than 30 years, students of the incoming senior class have brainstormed their year's motto. They soon after paint it onto a 12-foot-by-100-foot wall any way they choose, using symbols and pictures to illustrate their phrase.
"It is one of the few traditions that are left at the school," said Laurie Abbate, the senior advisor at Alexander Hamilton High School. "It is a very nice tradition for our seniors. And it means a lot. It is a uniting force through their senior year at school."
The mural is broken up into three sections. The first panel highlights bad-luck stereotypes, such as walking under a ladder or looking into a broken mirror. The second panel says "Lucky 13" – pushing luck onto their graduating year, 2013. The third panel shows Alexander Hamilton High School graduates, complete with caps and gowns, holding four-leaf clovers, with the words "Making Our Own Luck" adorned over top.
"It means that nobody is going to help them out," Abbate said. "It means that they have to work hard and do it for themselves. Nothing is going to deter them from making their own luck."
About 25 of the approximately 70 seniors spent two days – from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day – painting the wall, believing that it will give them the kick they need to create their own luck for their last year in the Elmsford Union Free School District.