MOUNT AIRY, Ga. - Senior Night is a big event for any high school athlete -- a chance to celebrate before the end of the season, and the end of their high school career. But for students in spring sports, Senior Nights have most likely been canceled this year, something that spurred one North Georgia family to create a DIY party for their son.
Andrew Rabern is a tennis player at Habersham Central High School, but this year's tennis season was cut short after only six matches. For the senior, the entire experience of social distancing has been surreal.
"Well, to be quite honest, it feels like a dream," he says. "Like, doesn't feel real. I'm just waiting to wake up."
The early end to the tennis season meant Senior Night was called off, something Andrew's parents knew would be a big disappointment.
"We have six children, and Andrew's the baby of the group," says dad Anthony. "And out of all our six children, all the others got to do their Senior Night for their sports."
But one day, looking through her calendar, Andrew's mom Ginger had an idea.
"I always put the tennis matches in my calendar, so I can keep up with where we're going. And I noticed on that particular night, it said 'Home' -- which, of course, we were supposed to have a home match that night -- and 'Senior Night.' And, being a mom, I teared up because I realized it's not going to happen for him. And then immediately I thought, you know, it said 'Home, Senior Night.' Why can't we have a 'Home Senior Night?'"
And so, rallying the family, they did. Decorating the house, the family set a tennis-themed table, baked and decorated a custom cake (with the name "Andrew Raider," a reference to Andrew's appearance during a High 5 Sports Team of the Week pep rally!), and surrounded him with plenty of pictures of his tennis career. The entire thing was put together as a surprise -- and Andrew says it worked.
"It was a surprise!" He says with a laugh. "It was pretty cool."
Not the Senior Night he was expecting, perhaps. But one he'll never forget.