Lab coat leaves legacy


Pictured above are all past and current wearers of the white lab coat, a tradition started by 2009 graduate Martin O’Brien.

What is the legacy of the lab coat?  Well, the lab coat is a long held tradition beginning in the 2008-2009 school year with Martin O’Brien. According to O’Brien, many seniors had traditions similar to the lab coat when he was in school. One student wore a suit every day and carried a briefcase, one student wore all white, and one student wore all black.

But, the lab coat was the only tradition that stuck.

The tradition does not have a complex backstory; it simply began with a senior who chose to start wearing a lab coat to school every day. Upon graduation, O’Brien then passed the lab coat down to an upcoming senior. According to Jackson MacTaggart, the current lab coat wearer, the recipients of the lab coat are not made aware of why they are receiving the lab coat. But, traditionally lab coat wearers are strong in the sciences. Jackson has participated in NHS as well as PJAS at the state level.

Mr. Smith says lab coat wearers are usually “original thinkers” and “people outside the mainstream.”

After O’Brien, lab coat wearers included John Bloemker, Carl Sierzega, Bob Krency, David Pascoe, Annie Walther, and more recently Michael Hilzendeger, Jonathan Florian, Rachel Ratvasky, and Bobby Stadelman. Walther is currently in law school, and Hilzendeger holds the record for passing the most AP exams in THS history. Stadelman is currently an engineering major at Penn State. Ratvasky and Walther are the only two females to have possessed the lab coat. It can safely be said that lab coat wearers tend to go on to be successful in other endeavors.

Looking toward the future, an obvious question is how future heirs of the lab coat will be chosen.

When asked how he would chose the next lab coat recipient, Jackson MacTaggart said, “I’m not at liberty to divulge that information.”

The lab coat is celebrating its tenth year in circulation, and the tradition will most likely continue for many years to come. O’Brien says he hopes the unique custom will continue in a light-hearted nature, and he wishes all future heirs of the lab coat success.