Photo courtesy of Jack Holme '17
You learn a lot from your own mistakes. This column won’t be a “Survival Guide to High School.” That book or article doesn’t exist– if it did, all of us would’ve read it. Instead of focusing on my “great” four years here at South, this will be a letter to all the teachers, parents and people that have had the greatest impact on my life during my high school career and people I strive to be like. These people have shaped me to be the best man I can be. To all of you…thank you. You have no idea what you all mean to me.
To the people who literally gave me everything:
Thank you for tutoring me in Geometry, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Chemistry and going over APUSH notes and Spanish vocab with me. You put a roof over my head and clothes on my back. You two are my boulders. I can talk to both of you about almost anything. Thank you for pushing me to do my best in everything that I do. Mom, thank you for teaching me the skill of thinking of others even when all I want to do is think of myself. Dad, thank you for the drive to work hard and continue to push myself. Even though I might not show it and I annoy you beyond belief, you will always be in my corner, and that’s comforting to know. We are super weird and anyone looking in can attest to that statement, but I wouldn’t want to be related to anyone else. I’m glad I can call you two my parents. Thank you. I love you both.
To the middle school teacher who believed in me:
You probably don’t understand how much of an impact you’ve had on me. I don’t know if you’re ever going to read this…but thank you. Every single day you were enthusiastic, energetic and committed to helping your students. If you hadn’t kept me involved with “The Beat” I wouldn’t have gotten this far. You trusted me to get my stuff done and I can’t thank you enough. You taught me all of my journalism skills: leads, headlines and how to interview properly; skills that have carried me all the way through high school and life. Thank you for trusting me and keeping me involved in journalism..
To my journalism Mom and Dad who shaped and molded me:
To the person who had my back: Thank you for shaping me in my writing, page design and how to face adversity. When the cookie story broke and “you know who” was after us, you, Alexa and Camille held your ground and trusted in me. You believed in me and illustrated my ability to conduct an interview. I miss you bud; I hope you find copious amounts of success in Cali. (Meet you at Hopcat next time you’re in Michigan.)
To my second mom: You have no idea what you’ve done for me this year. I don’t think I’ve ever been closer with a teacher. Even though it might be extremely weird, there’s a reason I call you “Mom.” You’re my second Mom. You didn’t want to be, but hey….you don’t have a choice, you’re stuck with me. If I’m having an awful day or am extremely conflicted you can always give me clarity. You’re the one who has kept me (somewhat) sane throughout this year. Thank you for everything that you’ve done for me, the Tower and everyone around you. All of us couldn’t have asked for a better adviser….hey, I know you said no before but if you still want to hit up the John Mayer concert….let me know.
To my “older brother” who can tolerate me:
I only had you for a quarter junior year and to say it was a struggle would be an understatement. “Should I drop down?” “Yeah, let’s go handle this right now!”. The next day I was in the math class that I thrived in and belonged in. While you were a great teacher, I didn’t have you enough to really appreciate what you do for your students. (P.S. It’s caring about them. Most teachers let you skate by when you don’t do homework. Nope, not you. You want the best for your students even if that means more work for yourself. Thank you.) I joined “the club” this year after receiving my varsity letter last year. I always wanted to be in it but just needed that letter. You recognized me from your class last year and from being on Tower. This transpired into a friendship that lasted throughout this year. “Why aren’t you in class!?!”, “Oh jeez, do you ever go to class?”, “The bad boys are back, you’ve got to drop the shoulders and walk with it, come on!”. These are just some of the little things that have made my senior year a great one. I knew I was a clown before but dressing up as one was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to do it for many years to come, hit a brother up.
To the the teacher who made me drop a tutorial to have another class with her:
Oh jeez, where do I start? Do I start in first hour AP psychology when we learned everything about how the human body worked? Is it our friendly political jabs back and forth? Was it your insight on James Madison at MSU that convinced me to transfer to in years to come? No matter what the scenario was or if I was up late finishing psych notes for the next morning, I know I don’t regret a minute of it. I have usually dreaded my first hour classes, but this year I’ve woken up excited to get the day started with you, an energetic person who truly cares about their students and what they’ve done in days prior. We both experienced hardships throughout the class and we both overcame them…and now it’s a part of both of us. We’re both stronger and we both feed off each other in the classroom because of it. Thank you for everything. Again, you can’t fathom the impact you’ve had on me.
To the person who always has my back and who has a heart that I will hopefully have someday:
I’ve never seen you in a bad mood….that’s something I wish I could pull off. But I’m human unlike you; you’re all positivity. I’ve only interviewed you a handful of times, but every time has been better than the last. Then I found out we share the same political beliefs and we bonded even more. Whenever I had a school-related question, you could always answer it, and on the rare instance that you couldn’t you directed me to whoever can. I’ve always read columns and overheard conversations about how you’re the greatest and by getting to know you myself I know those conversations to be truthful. The way you treat each and every kid like your own is astonishing. Listening to what they have to say and helping in anyway you can. That’s something I need help doing and something I’m trying to improve on. I look to you to see if I’m doing a good job or not. “What would she do in my position?” is a common question that arises. That’s something that will stick with me. Your pureness and genuine personality is an asset that the school can’t afford to lose.
To the large, rambunctious family I never had:
I joined Tower as a sophomore with only a handful of other kids. We had a so-so long-term sub and a lot of kids dropped the class. I became instantly close with the ones who didn’t drop. These were the brothers and sisters I never had growing up. When people ask me what I am going to miss most about high school….it’ll be you…The Tower. I’ve spent countless hours (If we have give or take 26 issues each year and I spend give or take 8 hours each week at Tower and I do that for three years….that’s 702 hours. Not counting editorial board meetings, early mornings that I’ve come in to work on my page and the nights that I’ve stayed late….oh, and actually writing stories outside of class. So it’s more like 1,000 hours (yeah, that sounds about right) working on this paper. Would I trade that 1,000 hours for anything else….hell no. When people ask me, “Is Tower hard?” you bet your ass it is. But I love it. I love the people in it and I’m not ready to let it go. I’m jealous of my sophomore friends who don’t appreciate the gem they’ve stumbled upon and hope they take full advantage of their situation. As my year is winding down I reflect back on the good times and the bad times I had at this cult-like institution. The advisers that laid the groundwork for us, the students, to fly and be the best we can be. I don’t know if I’ll ever find something that will fill the void in college. I hope I do, but it’s highly unlikely. Tower, I love you and I’ll miss you.
All these people have had huge impacts on my life, even if they don’t know it. I didn’t want this to be about me. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for these very special people. I wouldn’t be half the man I am if I didn’t have these role models in my life. South hasn’t given me a lot of “great” memories, but the people who put their blood, sweat and tears into everything they do have made up for it tenfold. I don’t tell them enough how much they mean to me, and that’s a problem. If I could tell an underclassman something it would be to find people that genuinely care about you. As soon as you do, your physical and mental state will be through the roof. It took me till my senior year to realize it, but I’m sure glad I did….I wish it didn’t take me this long to realize that.