By: Brooke Gronich
Throughout my entire life, I have always tried to think ahead and plan for every obstacle, opportunity, and moment that presented itself. I am constantly thinking about my next move, and I attribute much of my achievements to this very quality. However, it appears that despite that planning, I was absolutely not prepared for the second semester of my senior year in high school. A global pandemic can really do major damage to what was supposed to be some of the best moments of our lives. As I sit in my room for what seems like the thousandth day of quarantine, I am here to reflect on a journey that feels unfinished.
I got involved with the school newspaper as a freshman. I remember walking around the club fair and signing myself up for about 30 clubs, but in the end, I only committed to five. I have always enjoyed writing and wanted the chance to be able to write about whatever I wanted. I felt the newspaper would offer me the perfect platform to do so. For the past year, I was lucky enough to have been the editor of the online paper. My entire experience with this club has been fun and very meaningful. It taught me the importance of punctuality, and it also showed me how to work with a team in order to make something great. Thank you to Mrs. Dalton and Mrs. Davis for being such outstanding advisors for the past four years. You have both created such a comfortable and exciting working environment that has transmuted into an exceptional paper. I highly recommend this club to everyone, including upperclassmen. It is really never too late to join!
I will be continuing my educational journey at the University of Michigan. I feel extremely fortunate that I have the opportunity to spend the next four years at such an amazing place. Michigan has been my dream school for as long as I can remember, so much so that the second I got in, I committed! I am not going to lie and say that the college process was easy, but I truly do think that it works out for everyone in the end. For anyone applying to colleges in the near future, remember not to be too hard on yourself. A rejection does not define you nor should it make you feel like you aren’t good enough. Remember that there is no rhyme or reason as to why someone got into a school over you or why you got into a school over them. Stay positive and motivated from the first application you fill out until the tenth. I promise you that before you know it, May 1st will arrive, and you will be able to celebrate yourself and all your hard work will have paid off. I want to thank my parents for supporting me in everything and helping me grow into the person that I am. My dream of attending this school would never have been fulfilled if it weren’t for you two. I also want to thank all the teachers and staff at Half Hollow Hills. I hope you all know that your passion and dedication to every student at HSE does not go unnoticed. Especially during these hard times, it is extremely comforting to know that you are still continuing to do all you can in order to make our senior year special. From putting up the signs on our lawns to organizing the safe end of the year events for us – we appreciate it all!
Now, I would like to set the scene of my last day of high school for any upcoming seniors who find themselves reading this. Coincidentally, it was Friday the thirteenth (that still spooks me out a bit). As I was sitting in my car and reviewing my psychology notes, I figured that by 4 pm school would likely be canceled for a week or two. I looked at my phone and saw a text from one of my friends telling me how awfully crooked my park was, and I responded to her that I didn’t mind since I was leaving school in 40 minutes anyway (it wasn’t even that bad of a park). I took my test, went to the attendance office to get my early dismissal pass, and was out of the building probably before first period even ended. As I look back on this day, it shocks me that for the rest of my life, this would be my memory of my last day as a student in HSE. There would be no yearbook signing, no saying goodbye, no walking the halls one last time, and no closure. I can’t blame myself because I never could have known that, but I do feel like I have missed out on so much. All class of 2020 Seniors across the country probably felt the same when we realized that we would be wrapping up our big year in such an untraditional way. While I cannot deny my sadness and frustration, I have done my best to stay positive throughout the last three months and have learned a few important things. For starters, I can definitely say that quarantining with my family has brought us all closer together. My sister, who was a freshman in college this past year, and my dad, who would normally arrive home from work at around 8 pm, are now both present for family dinners every night. I am appreciating this quality time spent with my family considering that I too will be away at college next year. Additionally, I think the pandemic has forced us to be creative and find new ways to do old things. For instance, my friends and I, along with many others, have opted for the 6 feet apart hang out. Whether it be sitting in the trunks of our cars or in a huge circle in someone’s backyard, the time we spend together has become even more significant. Personally, I have a new appreciation for the warm weather. Getting outside has been one of the main things keeping me sane. Above all, I think this has shown the world how important it is to not be selfish and to do what’s right. We have learned that our actions have consequences, and while we may not have known the meaning of social distancing four years ago, to keep our family and friends safe we must practice it.
Lastly, I want to give some advice to the upcoming seniors at HSE. I cannot express it enough how you need to appreciate every moment of your graduating year. Get involved as much as you can, go to the pep rallies, dress up with your friends for senior spirit week, and take advantage of all that our school has to offer. Simple things like walking the hallways with your friends don’t seem so important until they are no longer a possibility. Instead of stressing over every single test, focus on the big picture. In just ten short months, you will be responsible for much more than just getting your homework in on time, so cherish these moments. This is the year that you and your best friends have been waiting for since kindergarten. It may sound silly or cliche, but don’t let it slip through your fingers. And, last, but certainly not least, a special shout out to the Class of 2020 for an amazing senior year and one that I definitely will not forget!