Opinion: We Are Reaching a Breaking Point

Opinion by The Hyphen Staff

Editor’s note: This piece was written collaboratively by the 14 members on The Hyphen staff. Since this group makes up 0.0067 percent of the student population at Jeff High, we aren’t exactly a representative sample. That being said, our job is to serve as the voice of the students — and we’ve done our best to represent every single one of you.

The alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. Or maybe it’s noon. Or maybe there is no alarm at all.

The Google Classroom is overflowing with dozens of to-do items. Or maybe it’s just a few. Or maybe it’s none.

The agenda for the day is to log in to four Google Meet sessions. Or maybe it’s just two. Or maybe it’s none.

By the end of the day, we will have completed eight hours of work. Or maybe it’s just a few hours. Or maybe it’s none.

If there is one thing consistent about the experience of a Jeff High student during Coronavirus, it is inconsistency. Specifically, we have noted inconsistencies in:

  • Amount of work
  • Whether the class has live Google Meets
  • Whether Google Meets are required
  • When the Google Meets take place
  • When the assignments are due
  • Whether work can be turned in late

The result is that we are constantly dealing with conflicting priorities — and we are overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused.

Yes, we realize there are bigger issues. Because of Coronavirus, some students don’t know how they will get their next meal. Some are in abusive situations at home that they can’t get away from. Some are dealing with depression and anxiety made worse by isolation.

We can’t fix everything, but we can suggest some changes the school district could consider as a way to lessen stress and increase motivation:

1 – Standardize expectations. Do teachers have Google Meets or not? Are they required or not? Are assignments due in an hour or a day? Are office hours for My School students or everyone? When do office hours happen? What’s the best way to reach out to my teacher?

2 – Respect the block. Although opinions on block scheduling are mixed, we agree that it does help us focus. Please avoid posting to-do items for classes on their “off” day or having a Google Meet during another class period.

3 – De-emphasize writing. We are used to showing what we know in class, not just writing all day. Writing takes longer than speaking or thinking, and it is challenging for a lot of people who are otherwise good communicators. If there’s a way to have us show what we know without writing (for instance, draw something and snap a picture), please do that. It is more work to do everything in writing, and it just gets repetitive after a while.

4 – Keep our other commitments in mind. During a typical school year, students have other obligations that keep them busy: jobs, sports, household responsibilities. It’s no different with Coronavirus. In fact, many students are working more hours because their workplaces see “online” as “on call all the time.” Many are also taking on more responsibility for watching siblings and helping around the house. 

5 – Consider the impact of last spring. The entire fourth quarter was a dud for students. For more than a month, students were not expected to keep the same level of academic focus as we are used to. Most students didn’t even take final exams. Due to this, many are more likely to struggle. 

6 – Be kind. A lot of students are going through a really tough time. They don’t show it. They don’t say it. Yes, sometimes we let you down. Sometimes we get overwhelmed and can’t keep up. Please show forgiveness and kindness. We’re all trying to get through this and get back to “normal” (whatever that is). 

These times are not normal. It’s important to realize that the student body is simply a reflection of the world. We’re just as overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused about our future as adults are. We are just as eager for rays of hope, for a light at the end of the tunnel, for life “after all this is over.” 

Also, we know that our teachers are overwhelmed and stressed, too. We aren’t placing all the blame there. In fact, we want to say thank you to some of the people who make this difficult time a little easier. 

  • Mr. Densford, Ms. Paul, Miller and Martinez: Thank you for caring about how we are doing, not just what we are doing.
  • Mr. Hornickel: Thank you for keeping us engaged and active.
  • Mr. McDonald, Ms. Johnson and Mr. Robinson: Thank you for being clear and consistent.
  • Mrs. Rector, Mr. Wigginton, and Mr. Dench: Thank you for always reaching out and making sure everyone’s up to speed. 
  • Principal Hall and the Assistant Principals: Thank you for everything you are doing to keep us safe.

What Do You Want More: Money or Happiness?

It isn’t uncommon to hear the saying, “Money can’t buy you happiness.”  Is this really true? We decided to ask readers of The Hyphen what they think. On an Instagram poll with 32 respondents, 25 said they would choose happiness over money, while the
other seven chose money. Some people say for a successful life you need both happiness and money. Stability is not just present in someone’s life, one way or the other.

Sophomore Claire Storz said, “I want happiness because that is the only thing money can’t buy. I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and sad.” Storz also noted that the whole ordeal is also situational. In fact some people who have an abundance of money can find happiness through donating to charities, or taking care of a family, adopting, running an organization to help real people, etc.

Money can only get you so many places, when you get to much of it, it can bring out the worst in you and the people you associate with. Once you have everything there is nothing to strive for, nor anything left to get. It can drive you insane knowing that you are just stuck in space, with a life controlled by what is in your bank account without a bit of happiness.

On the other hand, some people say that money does indeed create a sense of happiness. Sophomore Dustin Liston said, “I have a lot of great ideas that can bring others happiness but it requires a lot of money.”

With this statement he describes he wants to help others and that would bring
him happiness. Money is something people need to support themselves and others.
According to givingusa.org, in 2017 $390.05 billion was donated in just that year.  People who have a lot of money are big contributors to nonprofit organizations. It is said that giving to others will make you more happy, so through donation and assisting others you can bring yourself happiness.

In a life with happiness you could be poor and make the best out of your life. Strive daily to try to get somewhere to better your life. If you live a life where you do not love your job, it always feels like work. If you truly enjoy your job, you will never feel like you are at work a day in your life.

Opinion: The Flaw in FAFSA

The student aid application process has a fatal flaw: it presumes if parents CAN help with college costs that they WILL help with college costs.

Thinking about college can be extremely stressful. Not just the anxiety that comes with an unknown future, but something even more nerve wracking… money.

bellamadAs we all know, seniors or not, college can be very expensive. With scholarships, however, a lot of weight can be taken off your shoulders. But here’s the problem, how do you get scholarships if your parents make an above average amount of money? Most of the time, you don’t. And I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why would you need a scholarship if your parents make a lot of money?”

Well, not everyone whose parents make a decent amount of money actually gets help from their parents when it comes to paying for college. That seems to be the situation that a lot of students here at Jeffersonville High School are experiencing.

That little question concerning parent income included in scholarship applications assumes parents will aid financially with college, but that is not always an accurate assumption. Of course, they have scholarships for all different kinds of things that don’t require information about your parent’s yearly earnings.

If you’re a senior, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can be a big help, but only if you qualify. Part of the application asks you what your parents’ annual income is, which is the dreaded question for those whose parents are well-off.

No one ever complains that their parents “make too much money” until it comes to paying for college. It practically takes you out of the running for these types of things, and that is absolutely awful if you’re one of those students whose parents aren’t contributing.

According to the Indiana Financial Aid and Activity Program Report from the 2013-2014 school year, “…financial need is equal to the cost of tuition and fees minus the expected contribution of the student and his or her family.” This sounds great, truly need-based, but I have yet to run into a scholarship application that asks for income as well as how much support you are receiving from your parents financially.

As reported by the 2017 Indiana College Readiness Report, out of the 456 students that graduated from Jeff High in 2017, only 40 of those students were 21st century scholars. The 21st century scholarship program offers Indiana students a chance to get up to four years of fully paid tuition at multiple Indiana colleges. However, this only applies to students whose family income does not exceed $45,000 (for a family of 4). Who says those parents aren’t providing more financial help than parents who make more than that?

People tend to expect that when your parents make a lot of money, you don’t have to worry about college debt – but that’s not really how it works. Bigger paychecks tend to mean bigger bills. This means that even parents that make a lot of money don’t have enough to save for their children’s college tuition by the time all the bills have been paid.

What can we do? We could just make college kids rack up more and more student debt over the years, or we could get rid of that sickening question and give scholarships based on actual need, not assumed need.

Written by Kristen Jacobs

Opinion: Schnatter’s Donation to Jeffersonville Baseball Puts Him on the Right Path

It was July 11, 2018, when John Schnatter (Papa John) resigned as Board Chairman of Papa John’s Pizza. His resignation came after he used the N-word on a public relations conference call, but his fall from power began earlier. Schnatter is most known for his work as Papa John and his fall from power. However, many don’t know he graduated from Jeff High in 1980.

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Schnatter’s problems began in November 2017 when he expressed his disappointment over the peaceful protest of African-American NFL athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. The company tried to smooth over his comments, but the damage had been done.

In January 2018 John Schnatter stepped down as Chief Executive of Papa Johns, following a sales decline, partly linked to the NFL scandal, and in February 2018 Papa Johns ended their partnership with the NFL.

In May 2018 the conference call occurred in which Schnatter used the racial slur, yet the incident would remain unknown until July 11. The day John Schnatter lost everything. Soon after the news of his resignation spread, multiple partners and contracts were suspended. The University of Louisville began the process of renaming “Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium,” and many others began the process of removing the brand from their own.

Then, less than a week later, July 17, Schnatter started talking. He first walked back his resignations saying, “he was kinda provoked” in saying the racial slur. He also expressed regret over his decision to resign before the board did a full investigation. Despite his fight, by August 1, 2018, John Schnatter had been erased from all forms of advertising of Papa Johns.

Despite the loss of his company, Schnatter still maintains the John Schnatter Foundation which makes many charitable contributions. He has recently been using his foundation to help the Southern Indiana and Louisville community.

Most recently, Schnatter gave $500,000 to Jeffersonville High School for a turf baseball field and a replacement of the outer fencing, The stadium and facility will be named the John Schnatter Stadium, but the field will remain Don Poole Field.

John Schnatter has made many mistakes, and his use of racial slurs is inexcusable. However, this is the real world. John Schnatter has expressed remorse, and he is trying to help. Through this donation, he is helping his community and our school.

I believe in principles, but I also believe in practicality. This donation helps everyone, and while many will always associate his name with accusations of racism, we must also acknowledge the good his actions have and will do for the community.

Speaking of Labels…What’s the Q+ About?

For many years, people used the term “LGBT” to describe the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender community. In recent years, you might have noticed a new addition at the end: “Q+”. The Q+ is meant to be more inclusive of people who identify with something that’s not in the traditional LGBT framework (such as Asexual
and Pansexual).

While it might not seem like a big deal, the distinction is important to many people —
and has actually become a hotly debated issue. A Jeff High student who wanted to be anonymous for this story says the Q+ isn’t needed: “Trans covers FTM (female to male), MTF (male to female), and non-binary (the feeling of being genderless). Lesbian and Gay cover that, and Bi covers Pan so that’s about it.”

On the other side is Amber Walker, a Jeff High student who prefers the Q+ addition because “Personally, I feel that there is a whole spectrum of possibilities that don’t fit into just four labels.”

On a recent Instagram poll, the votes for the acronym LGBT was just one person while the votes for LGBTQ+ were 17 people. Most of those polled were from the area, but some were not. An LGBTQ+ community member who voted is from a country where being a part of the community is looked down upon and it is illegal to attend Pride festivals and have samesex marriage without punishment.

Is this debate pointless? While representation is important, the LGBTQ+ community, whether you believe in the Q+ or not, is an accepting community for those of different sexualities and genders. Even though LGBTQ+ won our poll, your opinion is your opinion as long as you aren’t hurting anyone with it.

Me Oh My! Xe, Xir, Zye!

When you hear “them” what do you think? Most will think that use of “they” means multiple people. There are occasions where this is no longer the case. They is a pronoun used for someone of unspecified gender, or in some cases, someone who doesn’t identify with a gender at all. They/them pronouns are often used when someone is non-binary and/or agender. Being non-binary is when someone identifies out of the male/female dichotomy, in other words, are outside of the binary. While he/him and she/her are specifically gendered to male and female, they/them pronouns are not.

There is a debate brewing in queer and non-queer spaces about pronouns. “How much meaning should we prescribe to them?” “Are he/him lesbians valid?” You hear the murmurs of these questions constantly. 

Pronouns are sensitive, as they relate exactly to identity. The singular they has been around for centuries. The works of William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Jane Austen and William Thackeray all include a singular they. However, now this use of singular they has come into question. Why has this use of singular they become controversial? The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides this answer to the question of if you can use a singular they; “The use of they, their, them, and themselves as pronouns of indefinite gender and indefinite number is well established in speech and writing.”

Then it comes to neo-pronouns. These new pronouns take on lists, the time of creation spanning from the early 1970s to yesterday. Ey/em pronouns were introduced to the queer scene in 1973, as an alternative to binary pronouns, plural, or “object” pronouns (it/its.) The queer disconnect from binary is something inherent and unique to queer spaces: the grotesque, the tacky, the beautiful, all smashed together in a revolution of beauty standards. This is apparent in the strict disregard of binary provided by the nonbinary and trans community, the butch/femme lesbian community, and the other sects of identification language in queer spaces. The pronouns are important as a badge of identity, what you call me will be what I’m most comfortable with.

Likely the reason we come to dispute these occasions of singular they, or the use of new pronouns be because this is a use in the context of queer people, and their refusal of typical gender binary. Even if you don’t want to listen to Shakespeare because language changes over time from his version of English, I pose another question: then why can’t it change now? If people are more comfortable using a different pronounーwhether it be they, he, she, or a newer oneーwhat right do we have to say, “no, this makes you more comfortable in expression, but no.” why should we be able to do that, refuse changing our language to benefit others? A simple switch of pronounsーsomething so easy we do it for dogsーwe can’t do for other people? 

Diversity Among Student Leaders

Diversity has become an important thing around the Jeffersonville community. The amount of diversity in our student leaders has been growing in our community and across America. As individuals, we might not always think about the diversity in our community — but across America, it is becoming more important to people’s everyday lives.

Jeffersonville High School has over 2000 students, giving us the chance to have more diverse leaders in different positions of different clubs. Since our school has so many students, I believe it is important for diversity to happen because diversity helps bring different backgrounds and cultures to our community. People from different backgrounds can bring new ideas to the table that we haven’t thought of before due to their different perspective on the world.

That is why having Amelia Epperson, who is from Australia, and Bethia Busingye, who is from Rwanda, as our student leaders on Student Council is so important to our community. They’re both from different countries, so they both have experienced different things and can offer some great new ideas to Student Council. As someone who ran for office myself (I ran for Class President for the class of 2022), I understand what might motivate someone to seek a school leadership position. I wanted to help make students’ voices be heard, help change things in the school and apply my life experiences in a way that would help others.

The fact that Bethia and Amelia are doing that, while also bringing cultural diversity to our student leadership, is icing on the cake. Some people are on the opposite side and don’t like the increasing diversity in America. The opposite side is the people who want America to stay the same and not change. One person being our president, Donald J. Trump, who has been attacking people of color in America and telling those people to go back to their countries. Diversity should not set us apart; diversity should bring us together. Schools are becoming more diverse because of the changes that are happening. The changes that are happening involve different people from different cultures that are coming to America.

As schools are becoming more diverse, the students’ leaders have become more diverse — here and around America. Increasing diversity is why Jeffersonville High School is one of the best schools in Indiana, in my opinion. We have many diverse leaders who can help the school and change the community in a big way.

The topic of diversity is becoming more important every day to us as individuals and us as students — as it should be, because it is a very important topic. Having diverse leaders is not only going to affect our community but the world as a whole. All in all, having diverse leaders is not only going to help change our community, but change the world for the better.

Opinion by: Nana Spio

An open letter, to whoever wants to read the probably not so wise wisdom of an 18 year old

By Emma Ellis

High school has flown by and after three-and-a-half years of saying I’m so ready to get out of here, now that I’m finally here with the last day of my high school career just days away, I can’t seem to put the brakes on. I keep trying to put off things that I probably shouldn’t be putting off, like this article for example. My brain is somehow reasoning if I don’t do my end-of-high school stuff then I can push back the end of high school.

Surprisingly, that’s not how it works. Life carries on with or without you, the trick is to not get bogged down by stuff you don’t want to do. Look on the bright side. Play the hand you were dealt. No use crying over spilled milk. As stressful as it is to be graduating, to be leaving the safety of home and family, school has been preparing us for this since kindergarten. Which is an encouraging thought, or maybe not, depending on how well you’ve been paying attention these past 12 years.

Have fun in high school, make sure your involved like a sport, club or even a class like newspaper. Don’t worry if it’s all going to work out, just do your work, don’t push it back or take a shortcut — you get the most out of life when you participate in it.

My plans for after high school? I plan on going to IUS for a year or two to stay close to home until I get my own footing, then transferring for a history degree that I still am not quite sure what I’m going to do with. I hope to become a New York Times best selling author if I ever get around to finishing a book. I plan to keep playing tennis until I can’t play anymore.

I would like to use this time to send out a thank you to all my teachers in my life for teaching me and inspiring me. I want to thank my coaches for always pushing me to go the extra step. A special thanks to my grampy, for always supporting my tennis career. I want to thank my family, my dad who is always there when I need him and wanting to help however he can, my mom who has picked me up and dropped me off at every practice, lesson, match, whether it be 5am for morning practice or picking me up past midnight, and last but not least I want to thank my sister for always being her bright smiling sweet self that brightens my day no matter how much of my stuff she breaks. There is no point in stressing over something you can’t do anything about, so just say ok and move on with your day.

The Perks of Being a “Joiner”

By Haylee Hedrick

High school has taught me how one can be a part of almost every social circle and yet not a part of one at all.

When I walk through JHS, it feels like home away from home. I walk through the halls every day and get to see so many people that have made this experience as great as it is for me. People that are like me, and people that are so different from me, seem to know my name or they know something that I’m a part of. I have formed a connection within the student body and have been honored enough to make an impact during my high school experience.

They say that life’s what you make it, and by “they” I mean your teacher, or parents or someone who has the experience to tell you it’s not a myth. I’m just another one of those people telling you that it’s true. When you enter into high school, you don’t know where you’re going to fit in, you don’t quite know what new friends are going to make yet or if you’re going to like your classes — but something that I can tell you that you can completely control is what you get into and what you get involved with. Getting involved is my key to enjoying high school.

There’s going to be that typical fear that you won’t find something for you. Well, I promise you will. I’ve been exposed to 20+ groups within Jeff High alone, and all of them are great groups to get to know. As a freshman, you can choose to sit back and watch people experience high school without you, or you can choose to join in and to be a joiner — and that’s what I did.

“You can’t walk into JHS without someone in the office, or a staff member in general, knowing Haylee and what she does for the school!”- Mom

“Forming connections is important. The people you meet and their perception of you can take you far (or hold you back dependably). Always value the relationships you make” – Dad

I can tell you first-hand being involved in clubs is the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself. As soon as you join a club, you get to know some people that have similar interests as you even if it’s just that you both want to be a part of this club or want to make a difference. Automatically you have a “family” of peers and supports because you are part of something, and it makes this huge place not seem near as big or scary.

Also, the sponsors of those clubs can become some of your greatest idols. Plus it’s always good to have an adult that you feel comfortable around and that you feel like you can come to when things happen. (I’m not saying the things will, but c’mon it’s high school
and sometimes you get into a situation where you just need of a little help.) But it’s okay because you’re making connections and the more connections you make, the more people that will help you — and vice versa. In the long run, you learn that means the more people you can help. Being involved has made me want to come to school and not only is it wanting to come but it’s wanting to stay rather than stay longer even though I’m going to graduate and stay longer after school and come on the weekends and to truly be proud to say that I am a Red Devil and I am a part of Jeffersonville High School. So yeah, high school is what you make it, and believe it or not it can be a place full of smiling faces and familiar faces and people that really know you and know what you stand for. It can surely be some of the greatest years of your life if you let it. So my motion to you is get involved, join clubs and make yourself known for the right reasons. It’s a huge benefit and I promise it pays off.

I enjoy school as much as I do because I’ve built a name for myself here. I’ve got a friend in every corner.

I’ve formed enough connections between different groups and members of cliques that I’m well known enough to feel like I’m a small part of, for lack of a better word, every social circle. Yet I really dislike the phrase “social circle” in itself because I feel like JHS isn’t just social circles and I’ve been able to “prove that.” It’s a big family that works together and I’m blessed to be one member of this family.

Special Thanks

Key Club: Thank you for allowing me to give back to the community and do good for the students within our school. The Key in Key Club means Kiwanis Empowering Youth and the club for me is about community service and doing something because you want to help and since it’s the right thing to do, no reward needed except for the satisfaction in knowing that you helped. You have allowed me to lead a group of driven individuals who want to make the world a better place. I’ve met some truly remarkable people through this group and I am honored to be named the president of the club for the 2018-19 school year.

Dance Marathon: Thank you for showing me what it’s truly like to be a part of something larger than myself and to set a goal that will help so many people so many more than I can even imagine. I like that I’m a small part of that and part of this huge community of people that have the same interest at heart as I do. That’s an amazing feeling to have and it’s a similarity that I have with people that I’ve never even met before.

Student Council: The committee roles I’ve been honored to hold in Student Council have taught me a lot about myself. Pep rally has taught me that you really do have to get pushed down to recognize the strength that you have to get back up and keep going. Planning the pep rallies has instilled in me the skills to adjust quickly, go with the flow and solve problems. You can plan those things to the T and still there will be adjustments made the day of. Due to pep rally I have had to learn skills and tackle obstacles I never thought I’d encounter. Thank you Student Council for pushing me to my limits all to prove to me that I can in fact do it.

The Hyphen: This role has “forced” me to conquer some of my fears and introduce myself to groups that I never thought I would associate with — not because of anything do with them, but simply because I wasn’t a part of their club or their team and I didn’t have a reason to be until a story came with them and it was my job to report on that story. Lo and behold, I got to know that and I made a connection there and now I feel like I really know our chess team or I really got to know the personalities behind the basketball players and I have a personal connection with the swim team and I genuinely want them to do well because I know them truly. I report on the school board all the time and that has allowed me to get to know them and for them to recognize my face and know who I am and make a connection to me through a group that I am a part of. Thank you for “forcing me” to meet these extraordinary people.

Before You Judge, Take Time to Get to Really Know Someone

By Tyler Hughes

Reach the Unreached, Touch the Untouched

At Jeffersonville High School, a lot of people make assumptions about one another and really just look at their peers and basically judge a book by its cover. Some, maybe most, kids at Jeff look at me as the “Jock of the School.” They see me as this kinda big headed guy who thinks he’s better than everyone and someone who has no heart when it comes to certain things. My peers look at me that way until they get to really know me. Yes, I can be a little confident about certain things because for the most part I’m a humble, kind hearted, funny and enjoyable person to be around.

Over spring break, my senior year of 2019, I took time out of my life to make a difference in someone else’s. I went on a mission trip to San Reymundo, Guatemala, and helped build six houses for families who only lived under sticks and tarps, if they were even lucky to live in that kind of “shelter.” We started from just dirt on the ground, to making a concrete base, building walls with wood, to making a roof with pro rib, to installing electricity in their new home. We supplied them with beds, blankets, couches and a TV. The house we built may have not have been the biggest but to them it was a mansion. We
built this house with every ounce of love. Over the course of us building this house for these families, we got to spend time and connect with the kids and families. If anyone really knows me, I’m a sucker for kids and am so easy to connect with kids easier than anyone else. I connected to each and every kid of the families in such a beautiful way that I’ve never felt before with anyone. Each and every day we arrived and left the site where we built the house, the kids would line up and give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and tell me how much they appreciated me.

This trip was definitely life changing and I couldn’t have been more blessed to be able to create a huge impact on each and every one of their lives. And I just wish people would just take a second and truly get to know me and who I am really am.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

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By Antonio Thompson

First I’d like to thank all my friends and teachers for the amazing years I had at Jeff High. My senior year was filled with love and lots of memories, good and bad. The good is that I got to see my friends everyday. The bad is that I didn’t finish my senior year of basketball with my closest friends.

Throughout my years here, I slowly stepped out of my comfort zone and stopped being shy with a lot of people and that was probably the best decision that I’ve made. Til this day I wouldn’t have the friends that I have now if I wasn’t able to step out.

I realized around my sophomore year that high school can be a place to make new friends, try new sports, different clubs, etc, and I made sure I took advantage of it. I suggest you could do the same.

Be Where Your Feet Are

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By Jack Ellis

High school, essentially the greatest years of our young lives. A time that we will never ever get back. Whether or not right now you are having troubles in high school or even having the time of your life, cherish it. Cherish the good, cherish the bad, just take everything in. Before you know it, you will have just a few days left of high school, just a few days left with all of your friends, and just a few days left until you never see some of these faces you have become so familiar with again.

Kind of harsh, I know. That is the harsh reality we have to deal with. We have a couple of weeks until the real world hits us harder than a semi-truck. So to whoever is reading this, live in the moment. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. Do everything you can at school, go be involved in a club, go try out for the sport that you always wanted to play.

Go make friends, stay out late and maybe do some things that you probably shouldn’t, go to that party everyone is talking about. One day you will look back at the things you missed because you were too scared or too shy to do it. And it will haunt you. Embrace high school, get out of the house and have fun, because high school is a one-time thing. You will never get these years back, there are no do-overs, you get one time to do this thing — so do it right.

As much as I say that I want to get out of this place, I would do anything to get 4 more years of high school. As seniors, we begin to take our last exams, we attend our last pep rallies (even though they took OUR spirit stick away). We attend our last basketball games as a student. We put on that jersey one last time, we take to the court or the field for one last time. There is one common denominator with all of us: we have the same four letters across our chest. Just a word to others, but to us it is our pride and joy, our home.

No matter who you are, or what you do, take these four years of high school and make them the best years you have ever had. One day you will be right where I am, wishing you could have it all back.