Winston Churchill High School always seemed like an unusual name for a school. I remember laughing at it when my parents told me I would be transferring there from my school in New York. A British Prime Minister is so unexpected for a high school name, especially one with Niche reviews about students getting stabbed in ceramics class or about rich elitist students who flaunt their wealth with no shame. I always knew it would be hard for me to fit in here. I’m not really sure if I ever did.
Unlike 90% of the students at WCHS, I wasn’t born and raised in Md.. I’ve never had lifelong childhood friends. I didn’t go to Cabin John or Hoover middle school and I didn’t know everyone in the hallways. I had no idea what folding a paper hot dog or hamburger style meant. I don’t even play rock-paper-scissors the same way (people in N.Y. say it differently for some reason). Admittedly, my own negativity and doubts about WCHS made it that much harder for me to make friends. Being introverted and wary of people and places I wasn’t familiar with put me at such a disadvantage, but those were my own shortcomings, not anyone else’s. I wish I could say my time at WCHS has been amazing and life changing, but that wouldn’t be entirely true.
Well, my pity party’s over. Maybe my high school experience wasn’t everything I wish it had been. Let’s just blame that on those teenage “coming of age” movies. There is no poking your head out of a moving car at midnight while singing indie music. But, there is a whole lot of studying,writing,stress and anxiety about college. High school is essentially a bridge, a step, a door to college. Everyone hates to admit it, but all those extracurriculars they signed up for were at least partially because it looks good on college applications.
Even if that is the motivation, it is somehow amazing to know that so many opportunities are available to achieve so much. Coming from a small high school in Staten Island (MSIT), I’ve always appreciated the resources and breadth of things to do here. Ceramics in sophomore year was something I never thought I would be able to do. Actual clay and ovens in a high school! That was kind of crazy! Likewise, taking AP European History or AP Lang/Lit was great. I know my old STEM school would never have guided me to Wellesley College whereas WCHS allowed me to build up my writing and reading skills.
And The Observer. I never thought it would be so fulfilling. I still can’t say I am very close to the other writers in my class, but I appreciated them as people and students. I was close to the sophomores though, and I wish them all the best in their next few years at WCHS. What I really got from Journalism was feeling connected to WCHS. I actually knew what was going on around school and I had reasons to get to know acquaintances, friends or teachers more. Even if I was writing about arbitrary things, it felt important and official. Journalism gave me a taste of purpose and community; I will always be grateful for that.
I don’t have much else to say about high school. It is what it is and it’s what you make of it. I never considered it to be a time that would change me forever or decide the rest of my life. I know there is more for me out there than my experiences at WCHS. My parents are moving to Korea and my sister is attending a different college, so leaving WCHS is the complete end of a part of my childhood and life that I will never experience again. We only remember things that happened years and years ago by our keepsakes from those eras, and unfortunately, I don’t have many from my time at WCHS. As I pack my belongings and prepare to move out, I realize that whether I’m ready or not for my life to progress, I have to move on. I will miss the few close friends I have made, and I hope I stay in touch with them although we are on different paths.
The lockdowns are a terribly depressing way to end my senior year, but at least it’s memorable. I hope everyone in the class of 2020 succeeds in wherever their lives take them.