As students around St. Joseph headed back to school Thursday, one group marked the day with a special celebration.

Around 6:40 a.m., an hour before the first day of classes was to begin, several Central High School seniors gathered in front of the building. They brought with them bean bags, cornhole boards, ladder golf and several other lawn games, all in an attempt to gather their fellow seniors together to celebrate their final year.

The event, titled Senior Sunrise, was put on by Central’s student government, and drew a crowd of more than 100 students who took photos in front of a backdrop and listened to music playing over a speaker wheeled out by a few teachers.

“We’re just trying to get the seniors excited for their last first day of school and try to start it off right by coming in a little early and meeting up with people you haven’t seen all summer,” Student Body President Cruz Becerra said.

With just under 400 seniors graduating this year, Becerra included, Jacob Kimble, a history teacher and co-student-government sponsor at Central High School, said events like this really help students bond and catch up prior to their first day.

“We wanted to create a situation where the first day of school isn’t, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to come back to school,’ but more like, ‘All right! I want to be here and this is fun.’ We just want to create that positive environment,” Kimble said.

In its second year, Senior Sunrise as an event hasn’t been around for too long, though Becerra hopes it turns into a tradition for future students down the road.

“I’ve been in this district for all of my years in education, so it’s kind of crazy that it’s all starting to come to an end. I’m starting to realize that, and it’s kind of sad because I love this place and I love these people,” Becerra said. “I’m not quite ready for it to end, but it’s a good thing I’ve got a whole year ahead of me.”

Daniel Cobb can be reached

at daniel.cobb@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowCobb.