With remote learning coming to an end and quarantine still in full-swing, I have had too much time to reflect on the past four years as a Springfield High School Senator/Solon. It has been four years and still is not clear what our school mascot is, but that is besides the point. The question of the week seems to be: are you going to miss high school? That is definitely a loaded question, one that cannot be answered with just one word. There are some aspects I certainly will not miss, but there are others that will make it hard to say goodbye.
One part of high school I will not miss is the constant competition to be the “smartest.” When it comes to getting the grade, students will do whatever it takes to be in the top five of the class or get Straight As. The class-rank system may have been important back in the day, but today it is toxic to education as students find ways to manipulate schedules in order to “Bop to the Top” as Sharpay once said. In no way am I saying the top students do not deserve to be there in the Class of 2020, but class rank diminishes the purpose of education. We come to school to learn and prepare ourselves for the years following high school and develop a basic education to prepare us for the real world. There is no time to be fighting with peers over those top spots in our class.
This system is toxic to say the least. Two students could work equally as hard and one could be number three in the class and the other could be 103rd in the class. Class rank is unfair and adds unnecessary pressure to years that are already full of peer pressure and an internal struggle to fit in socially. Award nights also only highlight the top students. The meaning behind Senior Recognition Night is jaded by the students who are at the top of the class and the teacher’s favorites. You could be a hard worker, but not even be mentioned during senior recognition night. The pressure that making the grade and being top in the class brings to high school is what I definitely will not miss.
After realizing how stressing over a B or how other people view you as a person is pointless, I realized how important it is to do what you want to do and enjoy high school. Do not worry about what class will put you in the top 20. Take the class you think is the best fit for you or one you will find entertaining. This alone will make high school much more enjoyable. The politics behind high school is what makes it easy to say goodbye, but the people you connect with make it all worth it.
When asked the previously mentioned question, I have been quick to say “No, I’m definitely not going to miss high school.” This is true if I only think about the competitiveness linked with high school. However, when I start thinking about the amazing connections I have made with teachers, peers, administrators and coaches, the answer shifts to “Yes.” I can name over a handful of teachers that have made a huge positive impact on my life. They have not only taught me how to write an essay or who the 34th president was, but also life lessons, such as being the best version of yourself no matter what other people say. The kindness these amazing teachers have expressed towards our class will have lifelong impacts. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for them.
There are so many friendships that I have seen grow throughout high school. From freshman to senior year, the Class of 2020 has grown and come together, especially under these circumstances. I have made friendships that I know will not only continue throughout college, but throughout life. Friends make going to school worth it. I am definitely going to miss running around on the weekends with my classmates and screaming as loud as possible at football and basketball games.
Administrators have helped set us up for successful futures and I know every single one of them wants the best for their students. That detention may have seemed terrible at the time, but it was all just tough love. At the end of the day, they were trying to make us better people.
Then there are coaches who you see every day for several months at a time. Coaches become friends and teams become family. There is nothing stronger than a team bond and some of my favorite high school memories have been during a sports season. The connections I have made with people have made these past four years much more fun.
Because of the pandemic, time spent with fellow classmates has been cut short. After spending the past four years at SHS, it is imperative you never take a second of it for granted. I remember saying, “I don’t want to go to school,” but, while I did not realize it at the time, high school is full of some of the best moments of your life. Cherish every second you get to spend with your “school friends” and the teachers who you grow close with. You do not want to regret not talking to your locker neighbor or the person you sit next to in Lightfoot’s class. Just have a good time and do not stress over grades because I promise, no matter what, it will all work out. Not to mention if it does not, you have an amazing support system behind you at SHS.
Thank you, teachers. Thank you, friends. Thank you, administrators. Thank you, coaches. Thank you, SHS. Class of 2020 out.