Members of Morse High School’s senior class may be looking forward to their future, but they spent Thursday evening participating in a school tradition that dates back to 1953.

Over 150 students and family members gathered at the school Thursday for Senior Tea, an annual event first organized by a local women’s club and recently taken over by the Bath High School Alumni Association. The celebration, which features the same teacups and silverware Morse students have used since the Eisenhower administration, is a way to honor the senior class while introducing them to the alumni community, according to event organizer Holly Lowe.

“We want these kids to keep coming back,” she said. “We want them to have the connection that we have.”

Thursday’s Senior Tea event featured the same teacups and silverware used at the original 1953 event. Contributed / Bath High School Alumni Association

The event has changed since Lowe’s own Senior Tea in 1979. What used to be a dressy, girls-only gathering at the Cosmopolitan Club, complete with hats and gloves, has become a co-ed celebration at Morse High School.

Yet it remains an important milestone for seniors, the kickoff to the home stretch before graduation, Lowe said.

“Everything you did from that point on was the last time you were going to do it,” she remembered.


Other Morse alumni, like Barbara Billings, have only vague, if sunny, memories or their own Senior Teas. Yet when the Cosmopolitan Club shut down in 2018, the Association was quick to rescue the event in order to stay connected with both the group’s past and its future.

“If we don’t get them involved when (students) are in high school and keep them involved, they won’t be coming back,” said Billings, who graduated in 1960. “I know that it’s been harder to get them to come back.”

The Alumni Association, founded in 1891, is one of the oldest and most active in the country, according to Billings. Each June, hundreds of former Morse students, some of whom graduated as long ago as 1941 return to Bath for a busy alumni weekend that includes a golf tournament, a 5K and a banquet.

Students and their families gather for the 2019 Senior Tea event at Mae’s Cafe & Bakery. Contributed / Bath High School Alumni Association

“You just need to come to a Bath High School Alumni Banquet; then you will see why I stay connected,” said Ann London of the Class of 1980. “To see the reunion classes, walk into the gym … with the “Blue & White” song playing just gives me goosebumps.”

In recent years, though, fewer recent graduates have become active members, according to President Kelsey Marco. She attributed that trend partially to the pandemic limiting recent in-person events, but also noted growing transience among graduates and workers.

Marco, a former class president and cheerleader and the daughter of active Morse alums, sees Senior Tea as an opportunity to bring in a new generation into the fold.

“Morse has always been very close to my heart,” she said. “I just want to make sure that all of our events and our mission and the spirit stays alive for years to come.”

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