Teen Corner — Looking back on an ‘extraordinary’ high school experience


Aaliyah Lewis

By Aaliyah Lewis, Contributing Writer

As I walk across the stage leaving the high school life behind, I hope to remember every single moment for exactly what it was — extraordinary. I hope to remember all 1,461 days as a high school student. Most importantly, I hope to remember everything that has gotten me from Point A to Point B, including friends, teachers, and everyone else who has made my four years so memorable.

 You’re right back at the bottom of the food chain as a freshman. Everything is different and much bigger than before. Your lunch schedules have changed, and you don’t see your middle school friends hardly ever. Freshman year is like a clean slate, a breath of fresh air. Everyone tells you the next three years are going to fly by. Though each day drags by slowly, believe them. 

It was shortly after that I blinked my eyes, and my new home was the second and third floors. I was a junior and everything was taken so much more seriously. The topic of college and what we wanted to be became a lot more popular, and the ACT was so far yet so close at the same time. By this time, your friend group will have completely changed, and you never talk to anyone from your middle school graduating class, however, you exchange smiles as you pass through busy hallways and watch them all from afar slowly making a way for themselves just as you did. 

Looking forward, it’s four years later, and the gap between the first day of senior year and graduation is slowly starting to close in on you. College acceptance letters are flowing through the mailbox and everyone is frantic about filing their FAFSA. Every Friday night home game we pack the stands no matter how bad the weather conditions happen to be, and nobody misses a day of spirit week. 

Before you know it, four years have turned into four weeks and it’s time to zip up those gowns. The white pages of our yearbooks are filled with goodbyes and everyone has started to catch senioritis. Adulthood has finally set in and in a few short weeks we will all be sitting together in a room for the last time. See you tomorrows will tum into “we’re gonna hang out this summer,” even though we probably won’t. It’ll be time for our next adventure and these moments will all be stories that we tell someday, and our pictures will turn into old photographs and we’ll all become somebody’s mom and dad. 

However, in two weeks we won’t be sitting in a classroom with the same people we have for the last four years. We won’t ask to borrow a pencil or spare a piece of gum. We won’t share how long we were up working on that assignment we swore we’d never finish or complain about the test we knew we’d all fail. In a week, we’ll walk across a stage and cross a bridge we were never quite sure we were ready to reach. In a few months, we’ll all move away with excitement in our bones to far-away places we’ve never known, and it feels like just a few short years ago we begged our parents to let us grow up. We all believed our youth was something to escape. We mistook a safety net for a lack of freedom, but m aybe growing up isn’t about big changes but instead about the small ones we left behind. 

I hope to remember Harlan County High School not as a school building but rather a place that I grew up in from a 14 -year-old freshman to now an 18- year-old senior. I will remember it as a second home where I spent eight hours a day, five days a week. To underclassmen below me, enjoy ever moment. Go to every game, play sports, participate in clubs and spirit week, go on trips and make a million friends. It really does go by so fast. If time travel were possible, I would go back to the first day of freshman year and do it the exact same way, 100 more times. However, for me, it’s time to turn my tassel to the left and leave behind the underclassmen who became passing friends but will continue their lives while I am forced to go on, as well as the people I have no real reason to stay in touch with that I barely knew, but still came to love that unknowingly gave me a piece of them and made me into a puzzle which will now sit untouched only to be looked on fondly.