AFHS Seniors Relish Last Night of Birdies and Badminton


Photo Credit: Heather McCarthy

Simone Chery, OwlFeed News Reporter

With the love of badminton flourishing in the hearts of 17 players and one coach, the last night of playing this sport for five individuals has many people wishing for time to freeze. Senior Night for the badminton girls has come faster than we’d thought, October 19, 2021, was a celebration of Simone Chery, Sarah Lucas, Alondra Perez, Gabby Ovalles, and T’Ana Shy’s last night of playing Badminton at Agua Fria High School.

On the night of the girl’s last game, the scenery was set with the gym full of family and friends, a silver sparkly entrance for the five seniors to enter, and a red carpet leading to a fabulously decorated table full of gifts for the stars of the night.

Coach Martin of the badminton team gave small but heartfelt speeches about each senior, what their best memories were, after high school plans, and their best accomplishments before they received their gifts and took pictures to remember the night.

The gifts consisted of five handmade birdie holders decorated by the younger players correlating with the personality of each senior, rackets with specific pictures taken at the practices for each senior, a bag full of their favorite treats, and two cards from the younger girls declaring their appreciation for the Lucas, Chery, Perez, Ovalles, and Shy as well as how much they will miss them.

As the games shifted closer to the end of the night, it was true that everyone had a long day and tried their very best but the badminton girls ended up losing 4-5 and breaking their streak of seven wins in a row. Still proud of their fun and diligent season, the night ended with cookies, cupcakes, laughter, and congratulation praises to the three girls going to state which consist of two seniors, Sarah Lucas for her singles skills and Gabby Ovalles for her doubles skills alongside Jenielle Bongo, her badminton partner.

Diving deeper into the thoughts of the members on the Badminton team, Sarah Lucas, Senior and fourth-year player, had sweet words when talking about the strong bond of the players. 

¨It was special. The badminton team brings good people who are fun to be around. It makes the game ten times more enjoyable with a non-toxic environment,¨ Lucas stated.

Friendliness and comfort within this group of individuals are evident when watching the girls interact during practice, in games, in school, and even outside of academics. Just like a family, these players hold a strong relationship together and are heartbroken that this year’s season has come to an end.

Another senior on the team, Alejandra, a third-year player, has enjoyed her time with this humorous and genial group of girls, going on to explain how she felt about this year.

¨My favorite memory of the seniors is that they all try to participate in school events. Not everyone may do them all the time but I think everyone has participated in at least one thing. Whether big or small it’s nice to see that there is an effort being put behind making good memories,¨ Perez stated.

With one last inquiry for the five seniors leaving the Agua Fria Badminton team this year, ending off with the question, what is one thing you will miss about Badminton at Agua Fria High School?

Photo Credit: Heather McCarthy

A beautiful last response from the girls was this:

¨Agua Fria is overall open and inclusive of the team. I’m genuinely super glad I joined because it’s an environment in which everyone can be carefree and let go of any worries even if it’s just for some time,¨ Perez stated.

¨I’ll miss the connections we make. Although the season is only three months long, the friendships that we make while playing last way longer,¨ Lucas stated.

¨I am going to miss all the friends that I made here because I knew some people but I definitely didn’t know many freshman or sophomores. It’s almost like a community. I’m going to miss being able to play the game,  learn new things, and just enjoy badminton,¨ Shy stated.

¨I will most definitely miss all the times where we just have so much fun at practice while laughing on the floor and cracking up uncontrollably whenever someone gets hit by the birdie or something funny happened. All the bus rides there and back, experiencing Mr. Martin driving on the WAB, and giving us mini heart attacks. I’ll miss everyone’s smiles and competitiveness, practicing past our times, and keeping Mr. Martin’s back from going home to his cats because we want to practice more.  I will miss everything about Agua Fria Badminton,¨ Ovalles stated.

As a member of the team, I will miss the painful smiles and stomach aching laughs this group of girls brought me and I will always keep the memories and my teammates dear to my heart for the rest of my life. What a senior night, huh?