Photo by Allison Jacobs
Growing up in an age of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, high school was romanticized, to say the least. I think many of my classmates, as well as myself, envisioned all the cliches: food fights, finding our one true love, pep rallies and everything in between. However, towards the end of my junior year, there was a little plot twist that no one expected called COVID-19.
To say the end of my high school career wasn’t exactly normal might be a little bit of an understatement, however it is just another memory to add to my high school experience. As a competitive field hockey player, I will never forget stepping onto the field for my first day of tryouts. The team bus rides consisting of shouting music at the top of my lungs, listening to random pep talks my teammates spontaneously made up and begging random truck drivers to honk their horns will be something I hold close to my heart forever.
Not only was my own athletic experience something to remember, but nothing will beat packing into the football stadium sophomore year to watch our football team shock the county with win after win. Or filling the bleachers of the Rockville hockey rink as I watched our team crush each opponent with an insane victory as the fans chanted and cheered, putting us closer and closer to yet another state championship (shoutout to the 6peat).
While our athletics were always an amazing thing to witness, the academic aspect of WCHS was also something I will never forget. Looking back, I cannot express my appreciation for the teachers who fueled my passion to learn more, even though in the moment I might not have seemed as grateful. The option to learn just about anything you wanted is something I did not realize was such a gift and I will never forget my teachers who motivated me to keep working and learning more.
I am lucky to say that I will forever have a bond with so many of my teachers and especially, my counselor who was always there for me, whether it was just to talk or to help me pursue my passions in history, writing and so much more.
One thing that I will be eternally grateful for, however, is The Observer. I can still see myself on the first day of freshman year, sitting down in room 243, filled with excitement. I have always had a passion for writing and the ability to take a journalism class filled my brain with endless possibilities for what the future might hold. As a freshman, I approached journalism with the idea that it was just going to be another class that I would get to enjoy, however what I didn’t realize (and sorry for the cliche in advance) is that it would provide me with a family.
The Observer introduced me to some of my closest friends, people who I didn’t even realize I would create amazing memories with. Freshman year, I might not have known that the kid I was stuck sitting next to on the bus ride home from our UMD field trip, was actually going to become my co-EIC my senior year, someone who I would spend time with not only during class, but on trips out to lunch or Friday nights hanging out. The random sophomores who terrified me as I watched them gather in the corner ended up becoming some of my best friends, taking me out to lunch with their car privileges or picking me up after seeing me walking home from school.
As I headed into my junior and senior year, I met new people who I’m lucky to say joined our Observer community and helped me grow as a leader and person. While COVID-19 threw a wrench in what I expected to be a storybook end to my high school career, it has provided me with an opportunity to explore my passion for writing as well as other fields of life that I hadn’t had the opportunity to pursue with a normal schedule of school, work and extracurriculars.
It’s crazy to think that I will soon be headed off into the next chapter of my life, however the impact The Observer had on me will stay forever, as I plan to pursue journalism in the coming years. I cannot thank everyone enough for the impact they have had on me throughout high school and providing me with the opportunity to become the person I am today. I am so excited to see what the future holds for me and my classmates. I always imagined the end of high school similar to the end of High School Musical 3, with everyone throwing their graduation caps into the sky and the screen goes dark. However, I know that there is so much more in store for us and our stories will keep going.