Kelly Burneson Photography
Yesterday I opened a letter in my time capsule I wrote on August, 31, 2017, my second day of freshman year, titled “Day 2/720”. Inside the letter was a detailed review of all of my thoughts on high school after my first two days. Now, I’m here on day 716/720, with a few more thoughts to share.
High school was a whirlwind. You come in as a 14 year old expecting the high school experience you see in the movies and you end your senior year as a completely new person with better memories than you could have ever imagined.
Everyone tells you “High school is bittersweet” but that’s hard to understand until you actually experience it. Sometimes in the bitter moments, it feels like everything is falling apart, with each assignment becoming more important than the next, and no end in sight. For many people, it is the first time they have to handle so much at once juggling school work, mental health, trying to plan for the future, and to add a global pandemic into the mix is enough to make someone’s brain spin. But the sweet moments are unmatched, and make it all worthwhile. Laughing until your stomach hurts with the people you have known since you were eight years old, playing your senior game under the lights, sprinting through the halls during Student Council Hide and Seek. It takes the lows to learn to cherish the highs and to learn that every storm will pass.
Some of my favorite WHS memories have been made on the turf, during sunset, playing field hockey with my best friends. Field hockey has taught me so much from being the “new person” sophomore year to becoming a captain senior year. I learned that hard work pays off and above all, I learned the importance of being a good teammate. And I think this applies to many things in life as we are moving on from high school. Being able to put yourself aside to help others is so important in all aspects of our lives.So thank you Coach Michelle, Ashley, Rai, and John for always prioritizing the team and teaching us lessons both on and off the field.
There is something really special about experiencing the same things with your friends for the first time during high school. Learning how to drive together, finding your voices in politics, playing in your first varsity games. There have been so many times I have looked back and wondered how I could have been so naive as a freshman; but if I could do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing, it’s the beauty of not knowing better, until you know better. These four years fly by so don’t spend your time worrying about things you could have done differently in the past, focus on each day and live in the present.
The pandemic revealed to everyone that the best part of school is being surrounded by your classmates and that was definitely something I took for granted. Although I loved only having to go to school two days a week, I wouldn’t trade the memories I have made in the last few weeks for anything. Finally getting to see the other half of the grade for our last weeks of high school was such a blessing. I will never forget the aimless walks around the school during class (always stopping by to see Mr. Daudelin) and the countless gym class adventures.
I truly wouldn’t have made it to where I am now without my friends and family by my side. Thank you Mom, Dad, and A.J. for always supporting me and thank you to all of my friends for the most unforgettable memories. Additionally, thank you to all of my teachers who worked so hard especially during online learning–even when talking to a class of black screens. Lastly, I want to thank Mrs. Stoker for being an amazing UNICEF club advisor and for giving me a class I’m excited to attend every day. I’m so jealous of all of the underclassmen who have a few more years left with her.
My advice to the underclassmen would be to take school seriously but make time to have fun because before you know it, you will be moving on from high school and all you’re going to have left is memories. Know your goals and don’t wait for things to happen to you, go out and make them happen. I am truly grateful for everything WHS has done for me in the past 716 days and I am so excited to move on to my next chapter in Boston at Northeastern University in the fall.