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I loved that Perry Como song in middle school. And I still enjoy it. Anyways, I was just thinking about some really good days in High School this past year. My Magic Moments as they may be. I probably talked about them before, but hey, this is my blog, so here goes.

Marching Band!
There was one field tournament this past year where we basically won a bunch of awards and there weren't enough seats for us and we stood on the sideline. I think it was South Hills. Anyways, this was an amazing year, with the success that we had. But the best part was the end of this tournament - when Peter and the captains came back carrying all these trophies, and the band just ran up to them and we had a huge group of hugging, crying, laughing high school kids. It seemed like the end of a movie. And a magic moment.

Star Wars Concert
This was pretty cool - for our Spring Concert, we played music from the 6 Star Wars films, and Mr. Alvo came to me with this idea of making a video to go along with the music. So we floated around doing a Star Wars spoof with band kids, but ultimately that didn't happen due to the timing of AP/IB testing, and the enormous pile of other proejcts going on at the same time. So I ended up getting video clips from the films, and put them together. The fight scene with Darth Maul for Duel of the Fates; various Naboo scenes for Across the Stars; the battle over Coruscant, various scenes of Princess Leia, the forest battle on the moon of Endor, and a montage of battle clips with the second Death Star. Anyways, it was cool to run back and forth to the AV room in the gym - made me feel like my 8th grade year at Rincon, running the AV equipment in the DMP. But the magic moment was seeing my creation on screen! And it synced perfectly in the bandroom - that was magical too - and almost perfectly during the concert. But then the Death Star explosion synced perfectly with the last duh duh duh duh. And that was magic. Special thanks to Victor who got the timing down for the video clips so that everything synced well!!

Speech and Graduation
Speaking in front of 5000 people. That's something I never thought I'd do - and it's the biggest audience ever. I usually start shifting around when I have to speak in front of the small IB class! But I remember sitting on stage the Tuesday before graduation, in front of 500 and being freaked out. Though after a few hours, it felt completely normal to me, and so did practicing out on the field Wednesday and Thursday. I thought I'd be scared to death in front of 5000 people, but I felt quite prepared. And that in itself was magic. But then people clapped when I was finished! I'm sure at least half the people were asleep, but hearing the applause at the end was magical!

President Obama "Race to the Top" Contest
http://vimeo.com/10196566
First let me say thanks to everyone who helped in this - Jessica, Christina, Benson, Frances, Tim, Olvidio, Alyssa, Ian, Mrs. Phillips, Mr. Falk, Mr. Brunyer, and everyone else. So I found this contest the White House was doing for the President to speak at a high school commencement ceremony. (Obviously we didn't win, because they got stuck with me!) This was a fun process for me. Getting called out of class for a meeting with the group and Mrs. Phillips, rushing the final copy from Mr. Houghton's room to the library to Mr. Brunyer's office - almost very West Wing-ish. But I was thrilled by it. And one of the best parts was the Sunday before it was due, and most of the group was at my houe writing the application. And we had notecards of ideas taped to the walls, surrounding us. And an alarm ringing every 15 minutes to keep us on track. And in the end, Jessica, Christina, and I stayed working up toward the 11th hour - quite literally. Anyways, magical process working on that application!

Every 15 Minutes Funeral
Well okay, this was sad too, but it was magical as well. Walking in was hard - especially when I had to walk by my IB classmates. I saw Mr. Suradeth as I came in the entry way - he sort of looked at me and gave a nod and a caring expression. I sort of nodded back and looked at the ground. And yes, I cried during the "funeral." But like I said in my original Every 15 Minutes post, the ending was amazing. Everyone backstage hugging and crying - most people who I had just met a mere 24 hours before were like family. All of us together, embracing, one last time together as a group. There was a bond there. It's hard to put into words. But those few last minutes together were like magic.

Filming our Bee-6 "Don't Stop Believin' Video"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZbciyckDyk
This is the one that made me start thinking of all of this. The preparation in Ms. Woo's class (complete with pelvic thrusts all around) was great, especially with the tape lines and moving all the desks - how often do you get to do that with a teacher? But the real fun was the morning of the filming. Thank goodness that we had done the band concert the Wednesday beforehand. We filmed on a Friday; the same Friday as the junior/senior assembly. Getting there in the morning, I was super excited. The Friday before, Rita had gone through the basics of lighting the hideout with me at the Jazz Band concert.
Anyways, I suppose the magic of this moment was at the beginning of the day. I was the first one there. I went to the back of the room to the sound box, got out my bag of wires and stuck in my CD with the Glee version of "Don't Stop Believin." And hearing it come out of the speakers and echo around the hideout was, well, almost magical. It was a great moment, just to hear it, and the excitement built up within me. One by one, the group members filtered into the hideout. Rita even came to help out with lighting! Oh my goodness, the lighting was just as magical. I am so thankful that we were able to use the lighting set up for the choir show. The fade out at the end of the video - that's not a computer effect, THE LIGHTS ACTUALLY GO OUT! Shooting stuff practical instead of using the computer - that stuff makes me giddy and bubbly inside! It just seemed so...much more professional than other things I've done. Chase lights during the guitar solo; lights on max at certain music notes; and DOING THE WHOLE THING IN ONE SHOT! Well almost one shot. Technically it was two - the first half, and the second half, with some audience shots in the middle to show something during an instrumental break. Ok, technically three, because I snuck in a second shot in the first half. But it's hard to tell! Anyways, making it look like it was one shot gave it another level of professionalism, and I loved that too! More movie magic happening! Anyways, that morning was magical to me - even though ASB kind of interrupted the ending; that was one of the best hours of my high school life. The music echoing through the room, lights flashing - I felt like I was in the middle of a real show!
 

Prom!

05/16/2010

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After last week's events, I think that some reflection is good for me. So reflection time!

Prom was last night. I went with Jessica Wang, and we went in a big limo with 16 others - Jake & Priscilla, Kevin & Tesia, Victor & Crystal, Kelvin & Jia, Trevor & Jessica, Yasitha & Ching Ko, Danny & Stacey, and Daniel & Esther. Anyways, beforehand, I had some trepidation. Well perhaps that's too strong a word. Maybe more like not quite being sure if I should go. Just because I'm generally a more shy, reserved person when it comes to social events...like dances.  But regardless, I went, and I'm glad that I did.  Because it was a lot of fun!

Of course there were some delays and things, but that didn't really matter, it happens. I suppose you could say it wouldn't be prom without little kinks!  The venue was nice, at the Santa Anita Racetrack. Only thing was that the dance floor was small. But the room was nice with the tables and such.  The dancing was pretty good, even though we ended up in front of one of the speakers for most of the time.  But it was certainly a fun experience.  Jessica was certainly a lot of fun to be with last night. Though I think some of my favorite moments were just being with people. At the table or the dancefloor. Or just walking around taking pictures with everyone (I forgot to bring my camera though! So sorry for the lack of pics...this is why I need to join facebook).   It was nice to see people from Every 15 Minutes. Saying hi and hugging people who I would not have given a second glance at if I didn't do the program. Certainly life changing. Especially not being at school since Wednesday, it was wonderful to see everyone after "coming back to life." 

And in the middle of all the fun, the tuxes and dresses, it hits you. Most of these people in a few weeks, you're never going to see again. And even if you do, it won't be the same. Which means for the next 3 weeks, I'm going to make the most of the time I have left with the people I love.
 
 
Every fifteen minutes, somebody dies in a drunk driving related accident.  On May 13, 2010, I died.  I died in a car crash caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol. 1 along with 26 other students died for 24 hours. 

Completely cut off from the outside world, from electronic devices, we were forced to come together, to bond with each other, to get to know and love each other.  This was so much more than learning about the dangers of drunk driving.  The past 24 hours showed me how much I had to value in my life.  The value of my friends and relationships.  At the beginning, I wasn't sure about it. I thought the stuff Mr. Withers talked to us about was just the stereotypical teambuilding speech.  I was completely wrong.

24 hours ago, 27 of us came together as strangers.  Today, we left as a family.  I met so many people that I would never have talked to during a regular school day, so many amazing people with different and intriguing life experiences. 

There were fun times too. Drunk goggles at SpeedZone. Coming up with a rap with Peter about not having cell phones.  But there was a lot of deep information too.

I learned that death can come at any time.  Even if you have everything going for you, even if you do everything right, things can happen. Death can happen. There's no use sugarcoating it.  We can try to prevent it, we will prevent it, but it only takes one person to make a bad choice, and in a second lives are changed forever.  Which means we have to live every day to the fullest, to live life without regrets.  It means in the end, all we have are each other.  A computer can't give you love. A phone, an iPod, can't give you love. Only another person can give you love.  And love is just the base, a foundation for a relationship that can be rewarding in ways I can't even express in words.  Relationships take work and take time.  Relationships take physical presence. Relationships take the ability to speak and hear someone's emotions, to read body language.  As much as technology does to help us in our lives, it isolates us as well, so that we don't physically come together.  In the last 24 hours, I loved 26 people so much. 

I saw pictures, horrible pictures, of the consequences.  Death. Sitting right there in front of me. My head kept turning toward and from the screen, like turning from life to death.  I think the worst part about dying isn't the death, but knowing the pain that those around you feel, your parents, your family, your friends.  Which is all the more reason to live life building relationships without regret, for you never know when might be your last goodbye. 

I think my favorite moment was after the funeral before we got to see our parents.  All of us behind the curtain, together for what was probably the last time, all hugging and crying.  These people who I had not known a day earlier are now like family to me.  The sense of comradery, the sense of trust, the sense of love amongst us. Everything Mr. Withers told us yesterday was true.  We were all there for each other, happy and sad, emotions flying, but all of us, together.

And now I'm not sure if I'm ready to re-enter the world of the living again.  I thought I was.  I'm glad to be home with my parents. But as I sit here typing this, I have a sense of loneliness.  No one else can truly know what the 27 of us went through - no one can else can truly know what the 5 of us at the crash scene went through.  Everything now seems so mundane and superficial - a test, a class assignment, a tv show - they all seem to lack meaning and importance.  Being at home now is like being cut off from a family. I already miss the unity, the presence of the others - the love.  But in the end that's all that we have for each other, and it is the most valuble thing that we can have and cherish, and I am so thankful that I the chance to love and be loved.  Every 15 Minutes is more than just a program about not drinking and driving - it truly is a program that opens your soul and makes you realize the worth of yourself and the people around you - the value of life.