As I first walked past the General MacArthur arch on my first day of high school, an intimidating senior guy approached me and said directly to my face, “Hey little girl, kindergarten’s that way.” Smiling and beaming with confidence, I swished my royal blue lanyard displaying the I.D. I just received a few weeks before. There it said, Olivia Suarez, 2011. Sure, his comment was rude, but I wasn’t going to let that ruin the start of my freshman year. This little girl had bigger ambitions.
My expectations of high school evolved throughout the beginning. I stood in the hallway puzzled as to why everyone wasn’t using their locker, and why some people were so tall. Campus life was too much to soak in all at one time; I could barely get around the A/B and C/D hallways. I remember when I ate lunch in a secluded room next to the cafeteria for a week, completely unaware that it was the “Senior Dining Hall”. I laugh at that memory every time I eat there now.
Knowing that I’ll be graduating within a week is overwhelming, yet exciting. To be honest, I don’t know what to feel except impatience. The next stage of adulthood is foreseen in my journey of success, but it’s hard to move on without acknowleding the triumphs and obstacles I’ve taken to reach this point. Highlights of my high school years include: being the first person in my class to perform in Mac Idol as a freshman, dedicating two years to the softball team, becoming Parliamentarian for the National Honor Society, and ultimately (and accidentally) encountering my career as a journalist, serving as both Editor-in-Chief of the Brahma Tales newspaper and reporter/photographer for The Brahma yearbook. Come seven days, I will walk the stage as a Summa Cum Laude graduate, and next fall, attend the University of Texas as a Journalism major.
At the moment, I don’t know what I’d do without leaving a school I so dearly love. Cliche as it sounds, just attending here provided simple bliss, and room to gain even more knowledge. So often at times we, as adolescents, think we know all the answers, but as much as we hate to admit it, we don’t. Each year has brought me a new lesson on growing up, serving as a platform of life in the real world. Feelings of acing tests, Friday night football games, working late on projects, gearing up for a game, finding a date for the dance, making new friends, and arguing with drifting ones, falling for someone hard, and then experiencing heartbreak have only made me stronger in all aspects. The attitude of acceptance from these events leads me to the prestigious road of maturity, a goal not everyone reaches.
I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me attain success. To my family and faith, I thank you for providing me the love and support necessary to carry through times of stress and pleasure. To my dearest closest friends, I have been blessed to be given the opportunity to have you in my life, and I wish you all the happiness the world should offer. Times spent together with you all have made my high school experience wonderful. And to my teachers, I would’ve never received high academic honors without your guidance and everlasting patience during classes, and in tutoring; I highly respect you for the efforts you put into having students make the most of themselves. And so, MacArthur, I leave you not only with departing words, but with recollections of my attendance all four years. I guess the biggest contributions one can make come from the smallest of people. Take that, kid. 😉