HUDSON — Ryan Deal directing traffic in the faculty parking lot.
The beat-up black Mustang with the windshield touting "2010!" painted in red.
The long line to the inflatable water slide on the Hudson High practice field.
Members of the seniors' Powder Puff cheerleading squad tossing Anthony Bishop head over heels in the air.
Brandon Jones stepping it up even further, flipping sideways in an Arabian gymnastics move, sailing over five (five!) of his crouching classmates.
Assistant principal Scott Davey in his usual spot grilling cheeseburgers, hot dogs and ribs.
Volleyball standout Jessica Christianson diving low for a save in a pickup game, all while donning a florescent pink cast on that left fibula she broke a while back.
Kids racing to the gymnasium to check for their name on the just posted "walk" list.
Hudson quarterback Jeff Wisner digging gobs of white frosting out of his ear with a plastic knife — payback for smashing a sopping-wet Diana Symes-Barravecchio square in the face with his slice of 2010 cake.
Senior guidance counselor Bill Askew fighting back tears while overseeing the event and noting, "They're a great group of kids."
Volunteer disc jockey and 2009 graduate blasting a rendition of (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me.
Handheld cameras clicking here, there and everywhere to capture all those memories being played out Friday during the Class of 2010's last bash.
That would be the senior tailgate party, a Hudson High tradition that began when the Class of 2008 set up a slew of grills and chained off the faculty parking lot so they could throw themselves one last party.
It was a harmless senior prank, said Davey, who still remembers the traffic jam it created that morning on Cobra Way. "So we just decided to give it to them."
The tailgate party is a legacy now — the last hurrah after the senior clapout on Wednesday in the school's commons area and the senior breakfast and slide show held Thursday on the waterfront at Catches Restaurant.
Organized by students and supervised by staff, the field day event is a time to play and to be a kid for just a little while longer; a time to let loose before next week's tedious graduation practice sessions and the final gig on Friday when the Class of 2010 will pull on red and gold caps and gowns and do the Pomp and Circumstance walk.
"It's really fun, but with all these last events, it's getting hard to say goodbye," said senior class president Sam Poston-Norris. "We've been bawling our eyes out."
No doubt about it. These last few days have been a cry fest for many.
"This last week has been the best because we've really bonded. But it's been so sad," said Diana Symes-Barravecchio. "We're like a big family — everyone gets along so well."
They've made their mark and had some help from class sponsor and career counselor Rick Casey, who guided the class and gave them the reins.
While he had to miss the tailgate event to attend his brother's graduation out of state, he was on the minds of many Friday.
"He's the best. He's more than a sponsor — he's a friend, too," Poston-Norris said. "In student council he just handed it over to us and let us do what we wanted."
And they did pretty well, it seems.
"More students than ever will be attending college on academic scholarships," noted student body vice president Alicia Schuering, 18. "The (girls) soccer team made it the farthest in school history. Twelve of our athletes have signed with colleges. We have people going to schools all across the United States."
"This is my fourth graduation here at Hudson," said principal David LaRoche, a graduate of the school himself. "If I had to describe them, I'd have to say they probably have the most pride of any group I've seen at Hudson. There's a lot of great kids who have shown a lot of leadership — in athletics, in leadership groups and clubs. These kids have really worked well with the adults that sponsored those groups. They're a close-knit group."
"This has been one of the best classes," said senior counselor Bill Askew, who after 17 years will be leaving Hudson and moving to the soon-to-open Fivay High. "I'd say they're in the top three (classes) I've seen in my 25 years of teaching. The way they volunteer, the way they work and cooperate with each other, the way they treat each other is something else."
"This class has a lot of spirit," said Ryan Deal. "It's been tremendous going to school here."
Michele Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (727) 869-6251.