Holly Carew: Senior Testimonial


Kelly Burneson

Holly Carew '20, Contributing Writer

Every year since Kindergarten I have cried on the last day of school.

I know it’s odd and sounds completely unlike a typical high school student, but I can assure you it happens every year without fail. The thought of another year chock-full of fun memories ending, having to leave all my amazing teachers, and just not being able to see everyone all the time always strikes a chord with me for some reason.

No matter what happened that year, how hard the workload was, the millions of tests I had, the trials and tribulations of high school life, none of it made a difference at the end of the day. It’s not just school either; at the end of every sports season, I always end up crying my eyes out after the last game/meet, and I am virtually inconsolable after the banquet. In fact, I was teary-eyed for about two weeks after the end of my senior swim season.

Looking back, I have truly enjoyed every aspect of student life at WHS. Make no mistake, I definitely had my fair share of tough times, whether that was friend drama, staying up past midnight for weeks straight to finish assignments or study for big tests, or even dealing with hard practices and meets, but all of that seems to fade away in retrospect. I have had the absolute best time at Westborough High School. I have learned so much, made so many memories, and have forged life-long friendships — all things I will definitely think about and miss when, and if, I walk across that stage this summer.

As a freshman, senior year seemed so far away. One of my first experiences as a high schooler was field hockey tryouts, and even then all the seniors seemed so much older, smarter, and so, so intimidating. Overall, being a senior couldn’t have felt more distant. But now as a senior, I don’t even think of the freshmen as that much younger than me, so I think it’s so interesting how that dynamic has shifted, and I can’t even imagine them looking up to me in that way.

Similar to how I started my high school career in August of 2016 with field hockey tryouts, high school sports have been absolutely integral to my time here at WHS. I have found that getting involved is not only a great way to have fun after school, but it’s also the best way to make lasting friendships and amazing memories. I have made so many friends through playing sports here, and in most cases they’re people I would have probably never met if not for meeting them on the field, the track, or in the pool. Getting involved at school has allowed me to make friends across all four grades, and therefore so many wonderful memories that I know will last a lifetime.

While playing field hockey and running track were really fun, I would have to say that the biggest and best part of my time at WHS would have to be the time spent as a member of the swim team. Swimming has always been a huge part of my life, as I had a pool growing up and started swimming from a very young age, but going into high school I never imagined myself joining the swim team. I had swam for the Westborough rec team starting in fourth grade, but ended up quitting in middle school to join theater, which is what all of my friends were doing at the time. So going into freshman year, I had taken a two-year break from a pretty difficult sport and I really only had one friend on the high school team, so it was a tough transition.

However, my mom, an older neighborhood friend and a new kid from my science class (he was also going to join the team) convinced me to try out and I haven’t looked back since; joining swim was the best decision I have ever made. Don’t get me wrong it was hard at times — practices were tough and I wasn’t that great when I first started. But through a lot of hard work and determination, I went from a scared freshman who swam in the extra heats and barely scored any points to being captain of the team and a state championship swimmer. And although all of that is great, the memories I have made with my teammates are without a doubt the best part of the whole experience. From playing sharks and minnows during practice, to cheering at the end of the lane during a meet, to four-hour long pasta parties, and even to post-practice trips to Friendly’s, I have the best, craziest, most amazing memories with this team and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Swim is such a unique sport as it brings together so many different types of people, many of whom would not be friends if not for their shared interest. I know for a fact that I would never have met or befriended some of my teammates if I didn’t join the team, but looking at it now are some of my favorite people and closest friends. Swim really is such a weird group of people but I am so glad that I have been able to be a part of it. This team means the world to me and I’m so sad to be leaving it next year.

Probably the biggest thing I learned is that it’s never too late to try something different, and sometimes the most unexpected events turn out to be the best, most impactful ones. In fact, this sort of mantra has followed me throughout my experience at WHS, and is one lesson that I will, without question, take with me for the rest of my life. And it’s not only my experience on the swim — I joined the track team as a freshman and started out doing sprints and hurdles and absolutely hated it. I ended up quitting sophomore year, but with much convincing from my friends, I joined again junior year, but decided to switch to distance and I have loved it ever since.

This same sort of thing happened with my experience in journalism too. I had been in chorus since fourth grade, but decided I wanted to try something new junior year and ended up quitting; something that was kind of scary, seeing as that’s where many of my friends were and how I had been in the program for so long. However, freeing up my schedule turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. I got the chance to try out new things and explore my interests, which led me to taking graphic design (probably the most useful class I have taken thus far) and journalism, which is one of my favorite classes. If I hadn’t done that, I definitely wouldn’t be writing this right now.

Senior year has without a doubt been my favorite year of high school, and it’s so crazy to think that it’s going to be over next week. Although it’s so weird to think that my high school career will come to a close with me shutting my computer after a Zoom on Thursday afternoon, I wouldn’t trade my experience leading up to that moment for anything.

I have learned and have grown so much since I first stepped foot into the lobby freshman year, and I will be leaving a completely different person now. I like to think that freshman Holly would be proud and in awe of the person I have become today, and I owe that entirely to my experience at WHS. While it was difficult at times, WHS has taught me the importance of perseverance, hard work, kindness, and positivity, all of which are values that have become a part of who I am.

So with that, I say thank you Westborough High School for everything you have given me. I have genuinely loved every moment as a student here and I’m so sad that my time is up, but I am sure I will love the next chapter of my life just as much. Oh, and I’m 100% sure I’ll cry this year too :).