Joe Durben: The Mistake that Defined his Senior Year

Durben has worn a "Last First Day" shirt every day his senior year -- except the first day

The thing that made Joe Durben ’22 most famous during his last year of high school all started as a mistake.

While the majority of seniors walked into school on the first day, wearing their last first day shirts with pride, Durben completely forgot, and was shocked when he realized he was one of the only ones that didn’t.

“My mother, in preparation for the first day of school, bought a Last First Day shirt for me to wear. I then proceeded to forget to wear it on the only day it was applicable,” said Senior Joe Durben. “I walked into the first day of my senior year, glanced around all of my peers, and thought ‘Damnit. I had one job’.”

Instead of celebrating this day by taking pictures with his friends, Joe sat on the sidelines in sheer disappointment as his friends mocked him for the mistake he had made. However, he didn’t let the people making fun of it bring him down at all, ironically flipping it on them, determined to make a joke out of it.

“I came to school the following day with a little slip of paper reading ‘second’ attached to the shirt, determined to get use out of it somehow,” said Durben.

As laughter flowed throughout the hallway on the second day of school, he seemed to have been getting a positive response, and decided to tape a piece of people with “3rd” on it for the 3rd day of school.

“It started as a joke, but stopped being funny around the 4th day, and started to be more of a commitment than anything,” said Durben.

Real friends make fun of you for every mistake, especially one as bad as forgetting to wear the shirt everyone else is wearing, however you don’t know what course that’s going to take, considering Joe wore this shirt every single day of the year. His friends jokingly making fun of him for forgetting to wear it are the reason he started, but they have been supportive throughout.

“I still remember one of the first days he had this shirt streak going. He was saying how he was going to keep on doing it and I was in high disbelief he was going to follow through with that,” said Rayden Broyld ’22, a friend of Durben’s.

As the year progressed, he continued to do this, as people started rolling their eyes, shaking their heads, and talking about how much of a loser he is behind his back.

“I don’t know what people are saying behind closed doors, but, I mean, they gotta have better things to do with their time than badmouthing some wacko senior who wears the same shirt every day, right? I’m glad I’ve kept this up. I knew from the beginning that if I were to quit part way through, I’d regret it,” said Durben.

As senior year comes to close, it’s done more than just provide a laugh as people walk by, it changed the course of his senior year.

“It’s just a shirt, but I think it gives me a presence beyond an ordinary student,” Durben said. “It’s also worked pretty well as an immediate icebreaker, for whatever that’s been worth.”

He will be ending his high school career on the graduation podium, giving a speech he would’ve never thought he would give, all due to an oversight on the first day of school. 

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