What Does it All Mean? An Introspection of High School


The Seniors celebrate their last day at South with an end-of-year cookout in the Courtyard.

Zachary Kaffine, Editor

As graduation is fast approaching, I, and others, have taken the time to reminisce over the past four years of high school. As I thought about the memories, I realized how quick the time has gone, as it seemed only a while ago I was first walking into South High, a scrawny freshman still experiencing voice cracks. And I thought about the people: friends, family, peers, teachers, coaches, administrators, mentors, followers, doers, thinkers, and artists. This torrent of nostalgia did not entirely reach me until I had a brief conversation with my grandfather.

It was his eighty-third birthday the past week, and as we discussed various moments of his life, I asked him about high school. He said something that resonated with me: “I walked in one door and out the other. That was the extent of my high school experience.” Now, my grandfather was a college professor, and someone I deem a scholar. His house is filled with shelving that is lined with books- poetry, history, fiction, non-fiction. It made me question the importance of these last four years: Does it all matter? As I endeavoured to answer this, more questions arose: Is this the peak? What about the future? As these thoughts sprung up, I had to receive some outside answers.

“I just wanted to have fun. Some parts sucked, but the rest was alright,” spoke Senior Andrew Sessler about his experience in high school. And this was the thought of many going into high school. Just because someone is not attending  every school-sponsored event, joining a club, or receiving good grades, it does not mean they are not having fun. And yes, the homework, the tests, the quizzes, they suck, but they are only a small portion of the high school experience. For me, I will remember going to friends’ houses during lunch to play “Super Smash Bros.”, and screaming during the pep rallies, and seeing the game winning touchdown against North, far before I will remember the work that teachers gave. It was more about the quirks of the specific classes, too- Mr. Henrikson’s biology jokes, Mrs. Moss’ “Self” referential humor, and Mr. Schrank just being himself. These wonderful, and sometimes weird moments were the ones I will recall, and I hope others do the same.

“I realize that I can adapt to any situation, and be successful in whatever I put my mind to,” assured Senior Emily Paltzer when talking about what she has learned from high school. Contrasting to my grandfather, Paltzer believes that she has received a lot from her years here, and the knowledge she acquired will carry her into the future. Yet with this optimism I  come to the crux of the Senior situation… the future. For some, the word future sparks the image of Squidward Tentacles gasping, “Future!” while doing crunches. Yet this word has become more and more ominous as adulthood nears. As I look towards the future, I too am optimistic, but I worry that my best years are behind me.

The Seniors celebrate their last day at South with an end-of-year cookout in the Courtyard.

“I think that your life is sad if high school is the best years of your life,” put frankly by Senior James Thone. Though it seems brutal, Thone has an optimistic tone for the future as well. Do not look back on high school and be sad, look forward to life, and imagine the possibilities. The world is what you make of it, and as adults, we can make our own decisions to decide where our life will lead. And though this seems empowering, it is also frightening. I have relied on my parents for nearly every day of my life, and as an adult, I’ll have to rely on myself. As I, and others, move forward in life, we have to choose. Choose where we want to live, who we want to live with, and how we want to live. And it will not come easy, for these decisions should not be done in haste. As we set out into a world of responsibility and self-reliance, us Seniors do not know where we are going, but we know where we’ve been. Our future is not certain, so give us time to work it out.