“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”
For Maggie: my inspiration, sister, friend, kindred spirit. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me the past few years, you are an amazing woman who continues to surprise me with your talents. I’m no writer, but I hope you’ll enjoy my story.
Today is the day I am officially no longer a child. Today is the day I am a high school graduate, not a high school student. Yesterday I walked across a stage, shook a hand, and sung my school song for the last time, and just like that: it was over. Oh, the places I’ve been. The family of friends that I will leave behind, the memories never forgotten, the tears shed together, this is it, this
is was high school. Today is the day I embark on a new journey, a journey that will take me over oceans, out of my comfort zones, and a journey of discovery. Today begins the restart. A new beginning, but not without the proper goodbye.
I believe in grieving a change. Change is good, change is a gift to be respected, but change is loss. Any change, big or small, good or bad, is loss. Loss of the norm, loss of the ordinary. Yesterday was the end of 4 years of the same people, same routine, same school. In fact, you could even say it was the ending of 13 years of routine. That’s 5 years less than the span of my entire life. I would not have changed one thing about my life. I believe even through the mistakes I made, I learned priceless lessons that are more valuable to me than any material possession ever could.
“They were the best of times, they were the worst of times.” High school was not all good, though. I went through many difficult times with my classmates and on my own. But I am grateful. I stand today grateful for the mistakes and the hardship. Grateful to be walking out of it a new person; not a different person- more like a Hannah 2.0. I am still the same me that walked through the front door of Louisville Male High School as a scared and awkward freshman, but I am upgraded. I have learned how to take opportunities while they are here, I’ve learned to appreciate the people who have been in my life- regardless of how close we may have been, and perhaps most importantly- I have learned how to love: better.
On graduation day I cried. Some tears were happy; happy for all the people sitting next to me on the stage, happy for all the teachers and staff finally seeing the moment they’ve waited for, and happy that I had the experience I did at Louisville Male High. Some tears were sad. I could not help but “cry because it’s over,” because that’s exactly who I am. I’m Hannah, and I will not apologize for who I am. I’m ready to move forward, but looking back and remembering, not dwelling, is something we should all do. It keeps us humans on an equilibrium. It’s how we learn and how we stay happy.
On the last day of high school, seniors are given the privilege of walking through the whole school for the last time as high school students. Can I just say some of my faith in my generation was restored that day? Being a part of that experience was a unique one, that many people don’t experience. As I walked past every teacher I’d ever had (and hugged every single one), they all had nothing but positive and encouraging words for me. Those words alone are enough to make me sure of my decisions during the last 4 years. They made me realize that I had done it, I had reached my goal, I had finished this race, and I am so thankful to them, for teaching me not only lessons in Stats, English, and Photography, but lessons in life.
My class president compared high school to a summer reading book. At first, you can’t hardly read one page without falling asleep, and you can’t wait for it to be over with. But then, you start meeting the characters and getting to know the plot. Then, as you start reaching the end, the pages seem to fly by and you don’t want it to end because you have grown to love the characters, and next thing you know, it’s over. But then you find out there’s a sequel. So you immediately go purchase the book, so excited to read it and meet the new characters, and perhaps some of the old ones too.
My sequel is coming, and I am so excited to meet new characters and see what new stories I will read. Today is the day I start writing my sequel , a new four years has begun and I cannot wait to learn and explore and discover. Western Kentucky University, Bring it on.