Written and illustrated by Sidney Loftman
With the stress of college applications and heavy course loads lightening up, many seniors are excited to make the most of their last few months of high school. Walking around campus, there is an air of bustling excitement as seniors rearrange their priorities, shifting them towards having fun and away from worrying about grades.
Senior Gregory Lee is one of many who hope to spend their extra time exploring old hobbies. “I would like to get back into photography,” he said. “I picked up the hobby freshman year, and used to go out almost every day for a couple of hours.” Lee also said, “I would like to try as many music-related things as possible. There haven’t been that many opportunities for me to participate in musicals since my freshman year, when I was in the pit band for Urinetown.”
Senior Denise Ramirez set a goal for herself: to get her driver’s license by the end of high school. “I would like to get around places at my own pace instead of having to rely on other people,” she said.
Additionally, senior Thinh Pham hopes to be a camp counselor at Outdoor Ed, an intensive week-long commitment that more students consider when they have a lighter workload. Pham said, “I’ve especially been wanting to do it recently because I’ve gotten more time with my schedule.”
But seniors aren’t the only ones who have high school aspirations. Seeing what seniors have accomplished, many juniors and underclassmen have goals of their own to reach for before graduation.
In the thick of what is commonly considered the most academically rigorous year of high school, junior Allison Hurley is focusing on activities to give her a break from school. “I would like to sew my own prom dress. I’m 5’10’’, and a lot of regular clothes don’t fit me right, so I want to be able to design everything to my liking.” Looking forward to the staple high school event of prom, Hurley is setting an ambitious goal for herself: both sewing the dress and learning how to do so. “I know a bit of how to sew,” she said, “but I’m not super good yet, so I’m going to keep working until prom comes up.”
While M-A does not offer an American Sign Language (ASL) class, junior Eva Grant is set on learning it. “I like languages,” Grant said, “and I want to be able to communicate without sounds because sometimes that makes me anxious.”
Additionally, with more than a year of high school under their belt, sophomores are excited to get more involved around campus. “My favorite memory from high school has definitely been meeting new people and making some new friends,” said sophomore Heather Lee. “It’s been a really cool experience because I know a lot of people from my middle school but there’s also a huge amount of people I don’t know, and I feel like I’m meeting new people every day.”
Many sophomores expressed interest in taking exciting elective classes before they graduate. “I want to take AP Psychology for fun,” said sophomore Antonia Mille. “I honestly don’t know what I want to do when I’m older, but maybe I’ll go into something related to the subject.” Sophomore Jazmyn Simpson said, “I’ve been into photography for three years now, and want to take the class.” In addition, sophomore Anabo Esafe said, “I want to take a cooking class, either Food and Nutrition or Culinary.”
Having just finished their first semester in high school, many freshmen are still getting adjusted to M-A, but have broader expectations for high school. Freshman Ethan Sfatcu said, “I want to get a job in high school, but I’m not sure what.” Sfatcu added, “I definitely want to eventually take Calculus BC. My dad’s an electrical engineer so I have something to look up to.”
On the topic of classes, freshman Jenna Lee said, “My goal is to join journalism next year. I took it last year at my middle school and thought it was really fun.” Similarly, freshman Viet-Tran Do also wants to join programs around school. “My goal is to get on the badminton team before I graduate,” she said. “I’ve been playing it for a year and think it’s a really fun sport.”
Yet students aren’t the only ones who take advantage of high school experiences. Many teachers have memories of their own high school experiences with things they are both glad they did and wished they had done more of.
Drama teacher Danette Bathauer said, “I’m glad I was involved in performing arts: in theater and choir and the plays. I think being involved in those things helped me understand how to approach certain situations and be independent. It allowed me to appreciate that each person has different contributions and they didn’t all have to be the same. All of them equaled something greater than just what I was doing.” Giving advice to students, she said, “Whether it’s sports or orchestra or dance, I think everyone should be a part of something bigger than themselves. It’s challenging, but also very rewarding.”
AS English III teacher Kat Keigher reflected, “I wish I had understood better that school doesn’t always have to be a competition with my peers. I don’t need to constantly prove that I’m the smartest person, and that’s okay,” she said. “Relationships, respect, kindness are all way more important than grades and GPA and class rank.”
Additionally, English teacher David Rosenberg said, “My advice for students is to get through the mud. I think a lot of our students tend to get caught up in the day-by-day, but you have to get through that to open the doors to get where you need to be.” Similarly, Keigher said, “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself as an 18-year-old. You’re not supposed to have your life figured out. I’m looking at associate’s degree programs at community colleges right now because I’m about to restart my life at 35. There’s no one path.”
Whether through classes or extracurriculars, funny moments or spontaneous adventures, everyone is looking to make the most of their high school experience. Graduation is just around the corner for seniors, and will feel just as fast for lowerclassmen. No matter how you spend the rest of your time in highschool, M-A has amazing opportunities for accomplishing all goals.