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A Bittersweet Bye to 'Baby Adults'


By: Emma Dognin

 

High school is the last time life is neatly planned out for everyone; you take specific classes, fulfill a certain number of credits, and it's all laid out for you like an array of colorful vitamins, a specific regime per each day until graduation, the final countdown. Everything leads up to this moment: all the hours spent studying till it felt like your hand would break from writing, all the colorfully highlighted notes that feel as blinding as headlights, and all the emails sent asking about your grades in a fearful haste. It all leads up to graduation. Graduation is the bittersweet celebration that is also a goodbye; it's the last time the people you spent your childhood with will all be together in one room before you all go your separate ways. Many seniors experience ambivalence as they near graduation, and our WPHS seniors are no exception.

“It’s both the most exciting and frightening feeling; there’s a lot of changes going on in our lives right now, with getting out of high school, facing the outside world and becoming a baby adult,” said Fatima Orozco Reyes.

“Honestly it hasn’t really hit me yet. I feel like with COVID we kind of got pulled out of middle school…part of me still has that middle school character. I’m kind of playing on my inner child in a sense. I feel independence and responsibility now that I’m a senior, but it probably won’t fully settle in until after I graduate,” said Abby Roman.

The Class of 2024 was in eighth grade when the 2020 pandemic started and began their freshman year in the thick of it.

“The most memorable thing about my high school experience is probably having my freshman year of high school completely on Zoom. It was such a different dynamic than what I was used to, and it really forced me to work on my attention span,” said Alisha Ahmed.

Fortunately, the pandemic ended and didn’t stop WPHS seniors from making memories. They all had different favorite memories that had one thing in common: being with each other.

“One of my favorites was our senior sunrise! Seeing so many students gather together outside so early in the morning just to watch the sunrise and enjoy a nice breakfast together was so heartwarming…I will definitely miss seeing my friends every day in classes and around the school. It’s so sad because everyone is parting their own separate ways and we’ll all be so far away from each other in just a few months,” said Amber Lau.

“Some of my favorite memories are probably times I’ve spent with my friends, whether it’s on field trips, during school activities, or just during classes. I’m going to miss the conversations that we would have daily and just being able to see each other every day,” said Alisha Ahmed.

Fatima Orozco Reyes expressed praise for different field trips she went on over the years including the Symphony Orchestra’s annual overnight trip and SEED Clubs outdoor center trip. She also mentioned the importance of music in her time in the high school.

Other students spoke of their wide range of favorite classes which included APs like AP Psychology, AP Language and Composition, AP Statistics, History courses like Criminal Justice, Human Rights, Art electives like Ceramics and Photography, STEM classes such as Engineering, Calculus, and Science Research, as well as language classes.

“[AP Language] taught me how to love literature and how to find myself in my writing,” said Abby Roman fondly.

Some students were able to find their future career interests through classes offered at WPHS.

“Career and Financial Management….had a lot of impact on deciding I want to do business. Then taking Italian and becoming aware of the different culture and languages around me made me want to focus on learning about different cultures and systems around the world through International Business,” said Fatima Orozco Reyes.

Extracurricular activities also influenced students’ time at the high school, whether it was performing on the stage, playing on the fields or writing for the paper.

“Definitely running had a huge impact on my high school experiences. My teammates are some of my closest friends. Cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, and any clubs I’ve explored helped me find my interests: Medicine and Health, the ROAR Magazine as well as SGO – they’ve all taught me new skills whether it’s leadership or artistic avenues,” said Abby Roman.  

“The Orange and the Class of 2024 Student Government definitely impacted my high school experience the most. Both of them really helped me to stay engaged and connected with the school, and also surrounded me with such amazing people!” said Amber Lau.

Students also discussed their growth throughout high school and the process of coming out of their shells as freshman, morphing into the people they are today.

“I have changed throughout high school by working on my work ethic and by trying new things and forcing myself to stop outside of my comfort zone. I pushed myself to try new classes and sports which I didn’t know I was going to like or not, but I still did because I wanted to experience new things,” said Alisha Ahmed.

“Coming out of middle school I was very academically driven, which I still am, but I would say in a more balanced way. I definitely prioritize my rest, my recovery, and friends and family a lot more than in the beginning of high school. I’m more set on myself…I was a pretty anxious individual… (but now) I found peace,” said Abby Roman.

Most of us can probably relate to that feeling of personal growth over time in high school. We become braver, and like the aquatics swimming Freshmen we once were, we learn to swim in a high school pool, preparing ourselves with every stroke for the ocean that is our futures.

 

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