Rahim Ramzanali: Senior Testimonial

Rahim Ramzanali '23, Sports Editor

Reflecting on your high school experience seems easy until you’re put in that position. What do I even say? I was a completely different person when I was 14. There is literally no perfect way to start it. However, it is only fitting that my last assignment of high school is also the hardest, so I’m going to give it a try.

Thinking back to my first few interactions at high school feels like a dream. Since even before day 1, I was thrusted into a foreign environment where everything I had learned in middle school seemed useless. During the first week of the treacherous football season, I was taken out and thrown into the school for the “freshman orientation,” which I had completely forgotten about. The moment I was brought in there, I was bombarded with information such as “B wing is this way!” “Here’s the schedule!” “Here’s your locker!” “Are you Mohammed’s little brother!?” I was lost, sweaty, and stuck trying to find my friends from eighth grade, or any sign of familiarity.

I couldn’t understand a thing they were saying except for only one thing: “Savor the moment.” That’s right. As a 14 year old who hadn’t experienced one class yet, they were telling me to savor high school. I hadn’t an idea of what they were talking about. Now I understand, and I wish I was still there.

Freshman year is like no other time of high school. This is different for everyone, for me it was all about football. I was finally on the high school team, which felt different. Practice with the upperclassmen as a 5’8” 120 pound 14 year old was the worst pain I had experienced, but it was worth it for everything else. Having lots of upperclassmen know me, being on the sidelines during Friday night lights, everything was surreal. Going to the sports games and events was also a big part of this experience. I advise everyone to go to the games, because this is where a lot of memories are made. Unfortunately, this was the same year school was cut short due to COVID.

It would be impossible to talk about high school without mentioning the impact that the dreadful pandemic had on it. The rest of my freshman year was gone, and when we returned to school for the first time in September 2020, everything had changed. Only a portion of the students were allowed to go at one time. The atmosphere was different, it wasn’t as loud or exciting as before. Unlike my other friends, I didn’t see anyone after school that much. Foregoing my football season, not going to any sports games, the dreaded hybrid formula, and zoom classes created school without actual high school.

I’m honestly grateful that I made the best of it and got through it all. The virus really put things into perspective for me and helped me grow as an individual. I spent a lot of time being introspective and thinking. I spent a lot of time with my family and always had a distant relative visiting. Due to my sophomore football season being taken away, I realized how precious these final two seasons will be, since it could be taken away at any time. I started working out so I wouldn’t waste these years away. I finally understood what “savor the moment” meant, now that the experience had been taken away from me for a year.

One story I remember from sophomore year comes from my Journalism II class with Mrs. Stoker. We were tasked with creating a project based on a show called “Newsroom.” Since this class was all about broadcasting, we decided to create a short movie about a game called “Among Us” with characters from “Newsroom”. It probably didn’t meet the requirements for the project, but it was still so goofy and fun to make. I thank everyone who was in that journalism class, including Mrs. Stoker, for being such a generous and accommodating teacher.

When we returned to junior year, it didn’t feel right. I realized that half of high school experience was over, and it felt like I was hardly in school. This was a wake up call, and something I want to tell any underclassmen who read this. There were definitely times where I was sitting in Algebra 2 wishing for time to go by faster, but now I didn’t wish that. You shouldn’t always try to move so fast, sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the moment.

School became better again in junior year. Although there were still some restrictions, it was real school again, and I had a blast. My fondest memories came from going to the sports games, and once again, journalism class. Journalism was especially fun when we went down to Westborough TV and recorded broadcasts, so I would also like to thank Mrs. Henderson for letting us record at the studio, for letting me broadcast and commentate sports games, and for being a great person all around.

This brings me to my final year, which definitely was the best part of the ride. I want to take the time to mention poetry class, which is also taught by Mrs. Stoker. What I thought would be an easy class to fill my senior English slot turned out to be filled with many lessons. I learned how to analyze literature and life around me more effectively. I learned how to be more introspective and retrospective on my life.

Sometimes, especially nowadays, we are caught living life on auto-pilot mode, meaning that we aren’t cognizant of our surroundings, we are simply going through the motions and trying to get by. This caused problems for me, as I started to forget what happened the previous week or month. Or, I would be surprised when I see the date because time flew by so quickly. Poetry is one of the most informative classes I took throughout high school, because I didn’t learn regular things like how to improve my essay writing. I learned how to improve my thinking, and there should be more classes like this one.

I don’t want to say much else about this year, I just want to say thanks. Thank you to everyone who helped me become a better person throughout high school. Once again, I’m going to thank Mrs. Stoker for helping me find an interest in journalism, which drastically improved my writing. Thank you for always being someone to talk to and for supporting me, and for genuinely being one of the nicest people I have met.

I want to thank Mrs. Hilfinger for also being there to talk to me even though I only had her freshman year. I want to thank my mom for always pushing me to study and earn better grades and my dad for teaching me kindness and values. A big thank you to my brother and sister for teaching me how to be disciplined and for helping me to become successful in the future. I also want to give one last thank you to my journalism classes throughout the years for always giving me something to look forward to in period 3 every day.

There is a lot I will miss about high school, but writing this testimonial will soften the blow at least a little bit. I’m happy I savored the moments while they lasted, and am looking forward to bigger and better things in the future. It is hard to believe that this is the final assignment I’m doing for high school, but I am happy that I am able to end it with my favorite class. It’s been a pleasure, good luck to everyone.