Jack Kelly: Senior Testimonial

Jack Kelly '21, Contributing Writer

The concept of a senior testimonial seems pretty simple. I want to share my unique experiences and lessons I have learned so others can learn from me. Yet as I start typing my thoughts the day before this is due, I realize that having to confine my high school story into words is much more difficult than anticipated. So that would be my first piece of advice: learn how to manage your time. Everyone has their own schedule, filled with sports, jobs, and other extracurriculars. But doing your school work needs be a top priority. As a busy student myself, time management was my greatest struggle in all four years of high school.

My perspective of what a senior is has changed quite a bit during my years at WHS. They used to be the tall, scary kids who had jobs and knew where they were going to college. They seemed like they had their whole life figured out and were perfect, mature humans. But every year I realized that was less and less true. And as I eventually became a senior myself, I didn’t feel like one. I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. In contrast, a lot of my friends knew exactly where they wanted to go to college and the job they wanted to have. We all learn at different speeds, just make sure you’re sticking to your own pace and not falling behind.

As much as I want to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind me, it would be weird to ignore the biggest factor of my senior year in my senior testimonial. At first I was so angry at the pandemic, and how we lost events like prom, sports seasons, and just the ability to go to school normally. But over these past few months, I’ve realized that the physical events aren’t needed to have fun. The memories and good times are created by the people you surround yourself with. For me, those memories were created through extracurriculars such as cross country, track, Best Buddies, and Student Council.

Running cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track taught me mental toughness. I learned what it meant to compete, and to push myself and not give up. I want to thank all my teammates and coaches, especially Coach Nute for always keeping practices light-hearted and Coach Anderson for teaching me what it means to be a leader.

I participated in Best Buddies with the same group of friends since Mill Pond, and for the past eight years we have had so much fun together whether it’s playing board games or basketball. Four years of Student Council has made me a lot more outgoing, and I have talked to hundreds of people in the school that I never would have known without Stuco. As an Executive Board member this past year, I found the experience so enjoyable, so thank you to all the awesome other board members. I think finding an extracurricular activity that you are passionate about is necessary for everyone, because that’s where I had the most fun in high school. But don’t feel pressured to do an extracurricular and don’t feel judged on what you are passionate about. And no matter what activities you participate in, put forward your best effort.

I want to thank my mom, dad, and brother Owen for always supporting me, I wouldn’t be anything near the person I am without you all. I also am so appreciative of my friends, and how they always are understanding and are able to uplift me. I have some unforgettable memories with so many different people that I’m proud to call my friends. All of you will do amazing things in the future. To my favorite class in high school, Period Five Journalism II, thanks for giving me a class to look forward to everyday.

Something I always tried to do was to be friendly with people in the halls or in classes. I think this helped me all throughout high school as people were always friendly back to me. Being kind to others can go a long way, and I truly think I benefited from always having peers to talk to. I am so grateful to all those peers who I was able to have an amazing time in high school, because I know not all of my classmates are fortunate enough to say the same.

I not only valued making good relationships with classmates, but also with my teachers. Most teachers at WHS were always kind and friendly to me, and I’m glad I was able to meet so many over the years. But in particular, I’m so grateful to Mrs. Stoker, Mr. Teevens, and Mr. Belbin for being role models to me. Mrs. Stoker treated me with nothing but kindness no matter what the situation was. Mr. Teevens was an amazing teacher and Stuco advisor who went out of his way to make our days better. They both instilled many values in me, especially teaching me how to become a more empathetic person. I want to thank Mr. Belbin for putting up with me in so many classes, and for showing me what it means to be respectful.

There are far too many people to thank, and that makes me think I really did do a good job creating relationships with others. As this chapter in my life ends, I hope to have left a positive impact on as many people as possible, and I am looking forward to next year at the University of Maine.