Senior Testimonial: Jack McGinn: Don’t Take it for Granted

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Senior Testimonial: Jack McGinn: Don’t Take it for Granted

Jack McGinn '19

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High School went by in a blur. It can be a polarizing time: adults and recent graduates often claim it was one of the best or worst times of their lives. While I’ve truly come to love my high school experience and have made lifelong friends and memories, I hope I won’t look back on it as an adult thinking of it as the best time in my life.

It’s crazy how much can change throughout high school. Honestly, freshman and sophomore year are hard for me to recall. I look back, and they kind of just blend together with few distinct memories. My view of the school was so much different freshman year than it is now. I remember seeing the seniors running around in their tie-dye on the first day as people I looked up to, and, at the time, I never could have imagined that being me. I’d be lying saying the seniors weren’t intimidating, and it didn’t really feel like we were a part of the school as freshmen. Now as I walk through the halls as a senior, it feels like this concrete building has become a place of comfort. The biggest thing I’ll remember freshman and sophomore for is the time in my life where my identity and interests shifted.

Coming into high school, I was very focused on sports. I played AAU basketball and baseball, and I’d been playing a sport pretty much every season for the four years leading leading up to high school. As bad as it sounds, I didn’t particularly care about my school work or my grades. After experiencing freshman baseball and JV basketball, I decided the time I put into the sports weren’t equal to the satisfaction I got from playing them. Don’t get me wrong; I still love to play pickup sports with my friends, and I’m one of the biggest New England sports (especially the Celtics) fans around, but the motivation to play organized sports was no longer there. I leave high school a person who played zero sports my senior year; I’m more than content with this decision as I learned to value my time and school work more than the joy I got out of playing school sports. However, I can’t help but think that my younger self always envisioned a high school experience where sports were at the forefront.

Junior year is often hyped up as the most stressful year of high school, and while this is more than likely the truth for most people, I would caution against listening to everything you hear about it. Many students, especially at Westborough High School, choose to take multiple AP courses to prepare for college or look like a stronger student for colleges. My advice to any soon to be juniors would be don’t feel pressure to take crazy hard courses “for college.” I’ll admit I felt pressure to take harder courses because I saw the classes my friends were taking, but I learned to do what was right for me. Take the classes that are right for you in terms of difficulty and what interests you. You’ll learn a lot more in a class you’re interested in that’s the right difficulty than the one you take just because it has AP in the title.

Junior year ended up being my second favorite year, behind senior year. The first thing I think about automatically with junior year is prom. Junior Prom is overdramatized and constantly talked about for months on end for superficial reasons, but I went into prom with low expectations and ended up having a great time. Prom was a fun night to have a good time with my closest friends. Some of my closest relationships stem from people I became friends with leading up to prom and the summer after. I can’t imagine what my senior year and life in general would be like without these people. I only wish I could’ve found these friends at the beginning of high school because I don’t feel ready to leave them in a few short months.

Senior year isn’t over yet, so I don’t want to close the book on that chapter, but so far it’s been the best year of my life. The first day of school was my favorite first day ever and the beginning of the senior stage of reminiscing with the people I’ve grown up. This year has been so emotional because it’s the last time we get to experience these things that seem to have become routine. Cheering on the football team at under the lights games felt more meaningful knowing they’d be our last ones at WHS. I got to cheer on my friends on the best boys’ basketball team in WHS in almost 30 years, and arguably ever, as they made it all the way to the state semifinals. I got to play my final Rec-Ball season with one of my best friends.

With some of my closest friends as fellow officers, I helped lead the Westborough chapter of Future Business Leaders of America to our most successful year ever. All the senior festivities start soon, and I’m sure it’ll be a really sad yet fun time to remember all we’ve been through together and the short time we have left. Senior year is the only year that I feel went by too quickly. I’m going to miss the little things I never even realized I appreciated; even my last day of kickball in gym class was an emotional one, and I don’t even like kickball.

It really doesn’t feel like I’m walking out of this school for one of the last times in a few weeks. I’m scared of graduating because of the uncertainty beyond this year. I’ve met my closest friends throughout my 13 years in the Westborough school system, and it’s sad to imagine not being around these people nearly as frequently as I am now. Oddly enough, I vividly remember meeting my childhood best friend, Ryan Fogerty, on the kindergarten playground on my first day at Fales. When he moved to California in fourth grade, I had to learn to make friends all over again. While I’m confident I’ll make close friends in college, I don’t want my life and my relationships with the people I’ve come to love to change. Although I know I’m not alone, going off to college puts everyone on their own independent track, and in that sense, it feels like I’ll never be as close to my friends as I will be the day before we leave each other for college. It’s sad to think I’ll probably never talk to 90% of the people who’ve surrounded me every day ever again after June 1.

Moving on from high school and Westborough was always going to be an inevitable step, but this town is my home. Everyone always jokes about Westborough being a “bubble” where not much happens and there’s not a whole lot to do, but I can’t imagine growing up and spending my whole childhood anywhere else. Everything I am and everything I know is because of this town and the people who I’ve grown up with in it.

It’s said all the time, and as an underclassman you don’t take it seriously, but senior year truly goes by too fast. In The Office, Andy Bernard said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” I’ve never understood this quote as well as I do with one week remaining in high school. Having experienced the ups and downs of the last four years, and at times wishing I could just be done with high school, I’ll take a new perspective to college; I’ll cherish the time I have and friends I make there because I’ll have had to experience letting it all go once before.

I’m thankful for so many people for impacting my life so positively throughout high school and my time in Westborough. Firstly, I’m thankful for my mom and dad, who moved our family to Westborough when they were young to ensure my siblings and I would have a good education, despite the fact that they probably couldn’t comfortably afford it at the time. I’m thankful for the many great and kind teachers who’ve provided an everlasting imprint on me including Mrs. Stoker, Mrs. Potosnak, and Ms. Apuzzo-Langton. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made throughout the past 13 years, especially Pranava Kumar and Emma West, who got me through high school in the days where I just wanted to go home. Now, I wish I never had to go home and that I’d never have to move on.