So I stand here today at a crossroads. Or maybe on top of a hill is a better description. Able to see the years behind me as well as a glimpse of the future. It seems strange, almost full circle - I came into high school feeling very much alone and isolated, and I feel that leaving in August I'll start off alone and isolated. Especially seeing friends going together to West Coast schools. I'm sure it will turn out fine in the end, but it's just thinking about going off alone, without the physical presence of my friends. And what seems to scare me is that it hasn't hit me that all of this is over yet. I don't feel like a graduate yet. Which may be because I haven't actually gone through the ceremony yet (a couple more hours!). But it's that I probably haven't realized the value of all my friendships yet. What happens in a few months when I realize how much I miss someone and I want to give them a hug, only to remember they're 3000 or so miles away? It's very much like the aftermath of Every 15 Minutes, except this time, there's no saying hi in the halls, or sitting with someone after school. After it's over, it's over. And yes, we have phones, facebook, AIM, and what not - but nothing can ever really substitute for sitting in the same room next to your friend.
Which comes to where I am today. Working so hard for 4 years to get up to the top. Coming into Rowland in 2006, I didn't know anyone. Well a few people, but the point is that I felt like a very small fish in a large pond. Actually, more like plankton in the ocean. And now...it's quite different. I know so many people - different, amazing people. And what's scarier is that there are more people who know who I am than I know who they are. It's nice to be able to walk down the halls (I have no idea why we call them halls though), and people say hi to you. Like a lot of people. Add to that teachers - even those you haven't had a class with, and the powers that be, the administators know who you are. I guess it's like being popular. Or it is being popular. I don't know. Becoming a well liked, popular kid was never one of my goals at high school - it's just something that sort of grew and developed along the way. But now that it's there, it's nice to take a pause and live in the moment, but the dread comes knowing that I'll have to work my way up again. But it's not just popularity, it's a support system. People who actually care about me, and how I feel, and what I do. People who have a genuine interest in my life. And I am forever grateful to those people. And again, I hope that I'm able to internally realize the importance of these people before it's too late to see them again.
I have to learn how to live in the present better, as I learned in my talks with Mr. Phillips. There's so much in the future that I can't control, so I have to make the most of what I do now.
So to the memories of the past year. I know it's not quite the present - but I figure this is as good a time as any to go over some highlights of the year. I'm sure I'll leave a lot out - but I can add later.
Band this year was really fun. Having Mr. Alvo for the 2nd year now, and knowing the staff like Jeff, Mark, and Armando, made things a lot easier this year. Being Woodwind Captain was a great experience too - especially conducting my arrangement of "Music of the Night." I'm not sure how to describe it in words, but hearing it played correctly for the first time almost brought tears to my eyes. And of course we went into championships in 1st place. The big Mo. Although we didn't quite get there, I'm happy with our effort. Band president was pretty laidback except for field show tournament time. One of the longest, busiest, most exhausting, most exciting days of the year. I hope my video tips help out for next year. And I hope it's scheduled on a long weekend when I can visit!
And then concert season, we got superior and were able to go to a regional festival! Which was a completely new, but wonderful experience to have. As was the Las Vegas trip - the first trip in 4 or 5 years for band, so my time spent out there was great fun.
So this year wasn't as great as last year. But it was an enjoyable experience, regardless of our place, and the rain. It was nice to get more underclassmen to participate and keep it going into next year - it's like Yongjin's legacy!
And we tried to get President Obama to be our commencement speaker. Though obviously we didn't make it, and they had to settle for me instead! It was great fun filling out the application - rushing to make the deadlines and get notes and make revisions actually gave me a thrill. And working with great minds like Christina and Jessica until 11 on a Sunday night was a wonderful (yet quite tiring) experience. Sitting in the hall, surrounded by notecards and brainstorming ideas. I only hope to be able to meet as amazing people next year in Cornell.
Another great year - I had no idea how much work the president had to do - and I have no idea how presidents of huge clubs are able to get all that work done! But it was a great experience this year, although near the end I got a bit lazy. But I was so lucky to have a great board of officers to help me out throughout the year.
NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY
Mr. Falk was an awesome advisor this year, and I'm so glad to have been an officer and on the "inside" with events, such as inductions. It's so much fun to watch the new inductees who aren't quite sure what's going on!
Wow, IB. I don't know if I'll meet another group of people like that again. I think we got crazier (and maybe more inmature?) as the year went on. But I love all 16 of the others, and I'm so glad we were small, because it really let us bond. And I didn't really realize how much I want a small community like that until I've been seperated from them this week during graduation practice. It feels like I haven't seen them in ages!
There's just too much to say! Things like our Bee-6/Glee video for english class (which was cool to get out of the IB bubble for a while). IBA Banquet. Band banquet. Bowling, laser tag, stressing with all the club conflicts at lunch. Senate meetings and Every 15 Minutes. Prom! IB hiking trip. Laughing during annoucements and breaking chairs. Other memories from past years too. Romeo and Juliet video, killing our bio animals. The Weakest Dream, Destination ImagiNation, Feed Us More Than Peanuts. The West Wing, Iron Chef in espanol, school board meetings, APUSH lectures, history vocab, calculus equations. 30 Rock, Stargate Universe, and Glee. Twitter and Facebook. There's so much, and I wish I had kept a comprehensive journal all 4 years!! Although some old IM logs may serve that purpose well...
Nevertheless, I'm here today. I'm glad I've been to all 3 graduations so far because of band, so I have an idea about today's ceremonies. Before, I was nervous about the speech, but then being in front of 500 people the past few days has made me much more comfortable about speaking in front of others. Although when you add another 3500 audience people...I'm sure it will be fine!
So as my time in high school comes to an end, it will always exist in my memories and in my heart. I will deeply miss Rowland High School, especially the people. These beautiful, amazing people. That truly makes Rowland unique. Despite our diversity (or maybe because of it), we create true relationships - we transcend differences, we cross boundaries, we rise above and unite in our commonality. (speech preview!). Coming back will never quite be the same. I can't just hang around on some benches after school with my friends, or sit in a teacher's classroom after class. But life goes on. And so wrote Michael Chricton in Jurassic Park, "Life will find a way." And I have faith that my life will find a way. But today, I'm just another graduate from Rowland High School. And the only thing left to do is wait for tomorrow and see what way to go.