For four years, I walked through the hallways of a high school packed with 4,000 students, which does not even include the 400 plus staff members. As time passed, I began to interact with more and more of those people. I can gladly say that by the time I graduated this year, I was able to meet people that have changed my life for the better. I know that’s cliché — of course I met wonderful people in high school. But these people altered my perspective, fueled my passions and energized my love of life.
It was not the building or the place that molded me into who I am today. It was the people of Carl Sandburg High School who changed my life.
The toughest aspect of leaving high school is the challenging realization that I will not see many of the people I met in school for months on end and some people I will never see again. That realization hurts, but my time as a high school student has come to an end and I have to say goodbye. I treasure the moments that I had with my friends and teachers, teammates and coaches. They were merely moments — which is what high school is full of — that seemed to float by, moving with the tide of 4,400 classmates and staff members.
The memories I created in high school will be carried with me throughout my life, but I definitely will not miss the poop-infested bathrooms, the iced coffee spillages in the middle of the main hallway, the obnoxious air conditioners that seem to turn on at the worst moment and the blaring, unapologetic music that played over the speaker system.
I’m telling you: I will miss the people.
For eight seasons, I was blessed to be coached by one of the best cross country and track coaches in the nation. My coach taught me the values of leadership, character, integrity, grit and sportsmanship. He was also my junior year English teacher. After learning the concepts of syntax, diction and style, I learned how to communicate through the written word. I can thank my coach for teaching me how to find my inner potential in running and for teaching me how to inspire others through beautifully crafted language.
Teachers in every department have influenced my life. My social studies teachers have taught me to enjoy cultures of other nations, while honoring the heroes of our own nation. They taught me to look at issues with a global perspective. Through their teachings, I saw history as this timeline that can be related to current social, political, economic, intellectual, art and religious movements.
My English and foreign language teachers have instilled in me the ability to look at a language with a deep appreciation for its culture and traditions. They inspired me to realize that cultural barriers lose the wall of separation when cross-cultural interactions occur because of the bridge that communication creates.
In my math classes, I learned the hard concept of deductive reasoning. Geometric proofs were quite repetitive, but they taught me to use reasoning and logic in most of what I do. Unfortunately, I never adhered to the idea that math is fun. Well, as a writer, that is actually a good quality to have. Too much straight-forward reasoning can disrupt an idea. Sorry math teachers, but all answers should not be found with repetitive formulas.
In my science classes, I learned to have fun on lab days and to not break the beaker (it will cost you if you drop the glass, trust me). Environmental science inspired me with its real world, international applications. Biology stunned me with its genetic wonders. Chemistry enthused me with the flames and chemicals. And physics just confused me.
I will not miss the prison-looking East building. I will not miss the fact that there is no upstairs hallway connecting North and South. And I will definitely not miss the quarter-mile walk from one end of the building to the other.
But I will miss the people. The people of Sandburg inspired me to give voice to others, influenced my decision to write as an aspiring journalist and encouraged me to step out of my boundaries.
I’ll miss the people as the people of Sandburg have become my family.
Lead Image Credit: Kyle LaHucik