The new school year is starting up, and incoming high school seniors are enjoying a host of new privileges. Many are allowed to eat lunch off campus or in senior lounge areas, while others can park their cars in special lots that are off limits to underclassmen.
For some schools around the country, those parking lots are getting a creative makeover, courtesy of the students themselves.
Getting a driver's license is already a huge rite of passage for many teenagers, and for students attending schools like West Orange High in Florida, there's an another big tradition to look forward to once they reach senior year — painting their own personal parking spot.
One West Orange student recently went viral for her clever choice of design. Martha Caldera is a Drake fan, so she chose to paint her own version of the rapper's album If You're Reading This It's Too Late that reads, "If you're reading this I'm late." Snaps of the spot earned more than 24,000 retweets.
Seniors at West Orange take this tradition pretty seriously, waiting as long as 10 hours overnight to claim their perfect spot. An overhead shot of the lot shows just how many students participated in the painting this year. It's a work of art in itself.
Students at Naaman Forest High School in Texas, meanwhile, decorate the spots as a fundraiser for prom. Class President Madi Bradley told Huffington Post, "We have the last week of summer to paint. So all of the seniors come up and paint and it's like a big parking lot party."
Not only is this a great way to encourage individuality and self-expression, but Upworthy also points out how meaningful it is to see students embracing the arts in today's educational climate. An estimated 80 percent of U.S. schools have had funding cut since 2008, and arts programs are often the first to go.
Arts education has been found to provide students with the skills to succeed in other school subjects, as well as further down the road when they enter the workforce. Research also finds that young people who were exposed to art education in high school are more likely to be civically engaged, with higher rates of volunteering and voting.
The class of 2017 has been sharing their amazing parking spot creations all over social media, with many choosing to recreate their favorite bits of pop culture or make punny references to their names. Let's take a look at 16 more examples.