“What if this was our last day of high school ever?” When I said it out loud it sounded even more outlandish than in my head. I didn’t really believe it when I questioned our Tower adviser that random Thursday in March if I would ever come back to high school. Afterall, June felt awfully far off as I shivered underneath my sweatshirt. Her reassurance that, ‘of course’, we would be back Monday fell short that evening though when I listened in disbelief as Governor Whitmer announced a three-week school closure.
Three weeks had felt like an eternity in March, but now as we approach June, three weeks feels like a drop in an ocean of never-ending quarantine. Each day that passed meant more activities, honors nights and sports seasons scratched off the calendar until in May when I went to fill in my monthly calendar I realized there was really no need.
Even among all of the loss of my senior year, I can’t help but feel so much joy thinking back on high school. The past four years have been the best in my life without a doubt. Coming from St. Paul, I walked into South knowing almost no one. I laugh now thinking back on the sheer terror I felt the first time I walked down the second floor main hallway thinking I had never seen so many people in my life. I wonder how I possibly thought South was so complicated to understand and I feel so blessed to see how I was guided to meet the right people at the right time and join the activities that I did.
A lot of Tower senior columns usually talk about what it will be like to leave high school. I realized there’s quite a difference with this year’s columns: we aren’t speculating about what it will be like to leave high school, we already did. Having already “left” high school, I realized a lot of what I will miss most is the little things like eating lunch with friends, little conversations after fifth hour, seeing friends in the hall that you’ve literally grown up with. You don’t realize how much those things mean until they’re gone.
Looking back on high school gives me such faith for the future. Through everything, I walked right beside God, my family and my friends. With all of the extra time I have had lately I’ve been thinking back over the past four years and seen how everything came together.
I’ve realized just how important sitting at that lunch table in the cafeteria on the first day of school was. How much difference those classes I signed up for on a whim before freshman year would make. Even that extra chair test I begrudged Mr. Gross for that wound up seating me next to one of my best friends.
Through all I’ve had to scratch off of my calendar, one thing has never left: Tower. It’s been my constant. Each week I can count on reading stories, granting a few too many extensions on late stories, but most importantly, being there to keep the student body connected.
I am so unbelievably proud of the whole Tower staff. We have proven that we are real journalists. We don’t just put down our pens when school closes. We are more than just a class or an activity. I’ve found a family on Tower and I’ve found a voice, and for that I am forever grateful.
I can’t imagine writing this column without letting a few people know how much they mean to me. To all of my teachers, especially Edge, Mr. Theisen, Mr. Gross, Mr. Hecker and Mrs. Bornoty, thank you for everything. You have pushed me to be the best version of myself. To Coach Z and all of my cross country and track coaches, I can never put into words how much I look up to you all and how much you have formed me into who I am today. To all of my Tower family and running teammates, I love you all.
To all of my friends, I don’t deserve you guys. Never forget that you are amazing and I love you. And finally, to my family, even after a few weeks of quarantine I still love you guys, so I’d say that says a lot, but seriously you mean the world to me and I can never thank you enough for all of the sacrifices you have made for me.
Lately, I’ve found myself humming an old campfire song: “I want to linger…a little longer.” It doesn’t seem quite right that I should be leaving a school that I never got to properly say goodbye to. But I know that I am leaving high school, or rather the desk in my bedroom, having learned to never take anything for granted, to hope for a better tomorrow and to love knowing nothing is a guarantee. I wish I could say goodbye to all of my classmates, but I will have to take solace knowing that, like the old song, “this is goodnight and not goodbye.”