During his freshmen year, senior Maximilian Salmeron entered the halls of Johnson High School in the first year that it opened up.
“It seemed like a foreign place; growing up and not being a kid anymore,” Salmeron said.
Johnson was nothing like it is now in it’s first year. The brand-new school was a blank slate.
“The halls were empty; it was undeveloped, and seemed like we didn’t have everything in line. We didn’t know what to do as a school,” senior Alberto Perez said.
Over the years, this new class of seniors has seen it all in the halls of Johnson.
“Things changed throughout the years- people disappeared, people found the right path, and people move on,” senior Christian Mata said.
Besides people, seniors this year recognize things differently from the first year from all the others.
“The first year was confusing,” senior Sean Encino said. “It was also funny. As a freshmen, your first year of high school, you expect to be confused. The first year at Johnson, not only the freshmen were confused, but even the teachers were.”
There is never any comfort in being in a new school for the first time.
“[My freshmen year] was a lot harder than all the other years, I think; adjusting to high school,” senior Jazmin Mohareb said.
That atmosphere caused Johnson to have an entirely different atmosphere throughout it’s opening year.
“It was a brand new school, it was disorganized, but with a lot of spirit I think,” Encino said.
As this senior class departs, so does the memory of those early days.
“My freshmen year was the best and most exuberant at Johnson so far; Johnson was the best in its first year,” Salmeron said. “The first year was setting the standard- or legacy- for future years.”
Naturally, certain policies and habits have disappeared in the wake of the first year.
“The first year was crazy, wild, new, and a feeling of change was in the air,” he said. “Policies have modified and diminished the standards of the first year.”
Some of these policies still affect students to this day.
“Johnson is more strict now, especially on dress code and cell phone usage,” Perez said.
After four long years, seniors must leave; armed only with the ability to look back on what constituted their high school years.
“[The things] I’ll miss most are the memories, and friends in ROTC that I’ve made since my freshmen year,” Perez said.
Seniors are leaving a tradition that they themselves set in place to assume the responsibilities of independence. Some believe that this experience will strengthen them in future years.
“The hardest thing about leaving high school is having to be in the real world, dealing with people in the outside world,” Mohareb said.
“High school prepares you for the hardships and experiences you encounter in life,” Salmeron said, “High School is the briefing to what will happen in real life.”
As the first students to go through all four years of that experience at Johnson High, this senior class’ memory will follow every graduating class to come.
“I wanna give back a gnarly legacy,” Salmeron said, “A legacy of perpetual achievement and excellence.”