Archive for December 2008
“I have 59 days left until school is done with. Forever.”
You have absolutely no idea the glee it gives me to finally be able to say that. Letting those eleven words slip off the tip of my tongue with the greatest of ease, without even having to tag along ‘just kidding’ at the end of them. The burly black doors of freedom have just burst open, revealing infinite fields of caramel kettle corn, orange popsicle trees, and smiling wisps of cumulus clouds that transform into Swedish Fish when you snap yer fingers. Although, I’ll have to admit, being a senior at Cheney High School has been quite an exciting and rewarding journey. Let’s rewind to the golden years for a paragraph or two.
I began my educational pathway at a tiny little brick schoolhouse out in the middle of nowhere. Ahhh, Great Northern. I believe my graduating class (6th grade) had five of us in it. Quite a turnout if I may say so myself, considering the whole school (K-6th) housed approximately 32 students in total. Despite the limited number of kids to become ‘besties’ with, Great Northern is, and always will be, my most memorable school. And since it was so small, you really got to know your teachers and vice versa. One particular individual, who will always be remembered in my book, is my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Kathy Vela. I was always the shy kid in the corner, you know the one. Where anything and everything I said triggered a dark shade of red to sneak its way across my chubby white cheeks. Well, being the understanding mentor she was, Mrs. Vela managed to coax me out of my anti-social habits, slowly but surely. To tell you the truth, she was one of the first people (besides the good ol’ rents of course) that I felt I could fully trust. This was awesome for me, because I was a very self-conscious kid back then, (I sported double-row braces, leopard framed glasses, and insanely curly blond hair) and she provided that safety barrier which I knew I could always fall back upon.
After saying goodbye to Great Northern and all the unforgettable memories I had created there, I moved on up to Cheney Middle School. For me, this was a huge, crazy, overwhelming change. To put it in simplest terms, everything that was going great for me was violently sucked up into a giant gray cloud, never to be seen again. Imagine if Earth was just an enormous, dirty dust ball and the Milky Way was a top-of-the-line Hoover with incredible dust ball GPS built into it. SLLLLURP! Total disaster, right? Well, that pretty much described my life as a 7th grader. That is, until I met music.
Music has always provided me with an outlet from the stresses of everyday life. I believe, where words fail, music speaks. If I woke up one idle Thursday morning to find out I had lost my hearing I could not fathom what I would do. It would be the ‘deaf’ of me. For example, when two of my best friends are arguing, and I know they’re both wrong, the ability for me to remain silent is almost as hard as falling asleep on Christmas Eve. So to play it safe, I just pop in my earphones, and trade their heated words in for a much needed daily dose of Chris Martin’s (Coldplay) incredible British accent. Works every time.
But anywho, back to my reflection, 7th grade continued to 8th and that’s when I discovered I had an itch to snatch a spot on the team of dancing, jiving, and all but boring Show Stoppers. These guys were breathtaking in my eyes. I want to be up there so bad, I’d tell myself day after day. But it was more than just a ‘want’; it was a ‘need’. I needed to showcase my soprano voice, needed to represent my fellow Nighthawks, and most of all, needed that sense of pride that came with performing alongside the best of the best. And so one chilly September morning, I swallowed my doubts and uncertainties and tried out.
Two weeks full of worry, baggy eyes, and stubby nails had finally come to an end as I anxiously read my results off the little metal bulletin hanging in the cafeteria. I had made it! Engulfed in happiness and satisfaction, I had finally found my place. Soon after my euphoric moment by the little metal bulletin board, life seemed a lot more enjoyable. Classes were easier, aiming distance for that 4.0 didn’t appear half as far, and Mr. Waud had to have been one of the most down-to-Earth teachers to make a difference in my life.
My favorite piece of middle school (besides choir) would easily have to have been the Fridays. Every Friday, rain or shine, my two best friends and I would dress up in a theme that we ourselves had created. I don’t even know how we thought of this idea, or the reasoning behind it. It was just ‘one of those little things’, that eventually evolved into ‘one of those big things’ by the end of the school year. I suppose you could have called it our mid-life crisis, but instead of blowing $30,000 towards a brand new Mustang convertible, we transformed our Fridays into (and these are just to list a few) Disney Day, Nerd Day, Backwards Day, Indian Day, Dress-Like-Your-Dad-For-A-Day Day, Superhero Day, Goth Day, Gangsta Day, 70’s Day, Hick Day, Pajamas Day, Beach Day, and just so many more. Everybody always thought we had literally lost our minds, but I guess they were right in a way. However, to me, middle school Fridays were always too far away, but when they finally did get here, they made school so much more worth going for.
Although our Fridays were extremely entertaining, Britney, Kaneeka, and I had to leave them with the Nighthawks. Despite the I-don’t-care-what-anybody-thinks-of-us attitudes we had once possessed, being a freshman was a scary thought. Plus, atomic wedgies, wet willies, and all the other senior pranks that were supposedly going to happen to us always managed to leave quite a sour taste in my mouth. So that was that, sad but true.
Prior to contray belief, freshman year proved to be an outstanding one. Closed campus didn’t really affect me because when yer a freshman cafeteria food is part of a normal/consistent food source. I don’t know what it is about being a senior, and I still can’t explain it to this day, but going out to eat means something more than just grabbing some dollar fries and a Big Mac. It’s like a rite; a passage. When you have the ability to leave school grounds, be it by friends with cars or maybe even your own car, there’s that ‘cool factor’ that comes along with it. Automatically, you become that much cooler. It’s honestly one of those labels that will never get old.
But enough about the food part. (I’m hungry can you tell.) I flew through my freshman year holding steady a solid 3.6 cumulative GPA. This was quite a feat for me, looking back now and knowing that I wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box, nor did I have the attention span to make up for it. I met many irreplaceable people along the way. One of them being my volleyball coach, Cherie Gwinn. She was one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever been coached by. Staying after practice to improve her players’ skills didn’t bother her in the least bit. “Are you sure you wanna stay, Coach? Cuz I totally understand if you don’t.” She’d always respond back to me telling me how ‘practice makes perfect’ and how she was here to help me out in that little saying. Thanks to her, I shocked everybody (including myself) and made varsity my sophomore and junior year. It was just such an awesome feeling; one of my high points in life so far.
Since we’re on the subject, let’s talk sports. My whole life, whether it be bush or competitive leagues, summer or in-season, sports have always been there for me. Perseverance and determination are big factors, but are also big learning curves. Take track as an example.
I absolutely fell in love with track and field. The atmosphere was awesome, I was actually excelling at what I did (high jump + javelin) and I had Stralser to keep me going and to help pick me up when I was down. Sophomore year was kind of a bummer because I missed going to State by a mere 4 feet for javelin. That hurt, it really did. However, my junior year, I decided to venture outside the box, and tried my luck as a pole-vaulter, working harder and more determined than I ever had in the past. Turns out, hard work pays off. My height masked my faulty drop step, and I ended up going to State with an 8’6’’. To make things even more perfect, I threw a 112’6’’ the next day for javelin and beat out the two Pullman girls, thus sending me to State in my second event as well. I was ecstatic. Perseverance, determination, and an open attitude to embrace/try something new had struck gold for me.
I can not explain to you, within a two sentence radius, or even an eight paragraph essay what all of my educational experiences have taught me. First of all, there’s just too much to list, and secondly, my words would not be enthusiastic enough to represent my past. I can tell you this though; I am a very independent learner. Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new people. Taking differences between my attitude and beliefs and accepting someone else’s is one of life’s simple pleasures. But when it comes to learning, being stuck in a group is definitely not leaning towards my ‘educational benefits’. I’m not sure how to reason with you on how, or why that is. It’s just who I am as a learner. It’s kind of unique in a way, because if you take my outside-of-school activities and then try to match them with my inside-of-school activities, you’d find that opposites attract, considering I’ve been in team sports my whole life. Funny how that works.
To further my education, I am planning to attend college, but don’t know where or when. To be completely honest, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Freshman year I had my mind set on becoming the most well-known veterinarian in the history of Cheney. Hah! The following year, my choices narrowed down to a sharp tie between any job having to do with animals, and/or a field in sports broadcasting. Like I’ve said before, I love sports. I always have. Put me in almost any game situation and I will perform to the best of my abilities. But get me in front of a camera, and the whole room seems to spin, leaving me totally speechless with maybe a few ‘ums, uhs, and hmms,’ here and there. Therefore, broadcasting live in front of hundreds of people on a daily basis is out of the question.
About halfway through my junior year, I realized that I didn’t really mind what I ended up doing, so long as each day of my job was unique and different and preferably took place outside. I mean, I could never ever be one of those people who do the same thing over and over again, hour after hour, day after day. Take a Wal-mart greeter for an excellent example. “Hello, how are you? How’s yer day going today? Welcome to Wally World, I’d rather be knitting purple elephant sweaters with Grandma Rosey, but enough about me, what’s up with you?” Okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit on the last one, but I needed to make my point. Point being; repetition = not exciting = boring = not me. So once again, I still have no clue what I want to be.
However, I do believe that the skills I’ve developed over the years, in and out of school, will provide me with a huge ingredient in impacting my future dreams and career stepping stones in whatever I end up doing. They will also allow me to learn from my mistakes in the past, and correct them in the future. Or even better; not even make them at all.
Writing this senior reflection paper has opened my eyes in many ways, and makes me realize how lucky I really am. Throughout my experiences, K-12th, I’ve found that life can be a journey to nowhere and everywhere, all at the same time. Meeting new people is always something you should be encouraged to do because you never know where they might lead you in life. I’ve also learned that before things get better, they have to get worse first. Which sucks in the short perspective of things, but pays off to a tee in the long run. Before I end this masterpiece, I want to thank all of the people who’ve made a difference on my outlook of life and say one last thing. I may have no idea where I’m going, how I’m getting there, or what I’ll end up doing, but by God I promise it’ll be everything but boring.
One foggy Friday night, walking home from my performance with the Rolling Stones (we were in NYC that night), I heard a noise to my left, somewhere beneath the twisted twigs and branches of this old maple tree. It was really dark, and I couldn’t see anything, so using my wicked awesome telekinesis skills, I contortioned the streetlamp (imagine the Pixar lamp) so it would face the maple tree. As I did, Kermit the Frog leaped out at me from behind, a bottle of chloroform in one hand and a balled up handkerchief in the other. He knocked me out cold almost instantly. The last thing I remember was the evil smile on Mrs. Piggy’s wrinkly face, and her snorting violently as she slowly emerged from under that maple tree.
When I finally regained consciousness, I found myself strapped down with miles and miles of bungee cord pinning me to this 500 foot red rocket. Twisting my head around, I managed to catch a glimpse of the name of this gigantic monster that now held my life in its hands…..or bungee cords. “Squatting Turtle”. Great, I thought to myself. Death is going to find my charred remains somewhere up in outer space attached to a red rocket called “Squatting Turtle”. Lovely.
Still very much confused on this whole situation, I tried to make some sense out of it. However, I couldn’t understand why this crazy little frog along with his pig-of-a-sidekick, had buckled himself in right next to me. Seeing the absurd expression on my face, he half-smiled at me and exclaimed out of the side of his mouth, “We’re gonna go visit Mars, my friend!” Before I could ask why in the aych-e-double hockey sticks I was the chosen companion on this insane mission, the rocket’s double piston engines gave an ear-shattering screech and began to slowly propel upward into the darkness.
Highly opposing this whole “space” idea, I yet again used my wicked awesome telekinesis skills to loosen the bungee cords tightened uncomfortably around my wrists, making sure that these 2 lunatics on the sides of me were still glued to this reddish beast. After about 7-8 seconds, I fell from the rocket into an acre of soft cozy cotton trees below. Dusting these cotton balls off the ripped cuffs of my favorite jeans, I glanced up to see Kermit and Mrs. Piggy staring down at me, disappointment and regret lingering on their faces. The only thing I thought to do was wave goodbye. And so I did. Farewell my crazy friends, farewell.