By: Sloane Levine
When you envision positivity, bright images, happy moments, and cheerful celebrations come to mind. As a senior about to embark on the next stage of my education, there is an abundance of successes to celebrate, and I would like to embrace a positive outlook as I look back while preparing for my future endeavors. This positivity, I have learned, takes many shapes and forms, and I believe it has been a common thread throughout my years as a student. It is held true that a positive attitude is key to overcoming obstacles, striving for success, and staying emotionally healthy. If it were not for keeping a positive mindset and outlook on life, I would not be the person that I am today. Positivity has supported my path through the years at Half Hollow Hills, guiding me towards a bright future. And while this was not the high school ending that I anticipated, as I focus on the enriching, positive experiences throughout the past thirteen years, I am grateful to have been a part of this school community.
One’s character is molded at a very young age, and it takes shape from those who teach and influence us. Whether it was my nurturing kindergarten teacher, my charismatic fifth-grade teacher, or any of the encouraging educators in my life, including my parents, they have all motivated me in unique ways to be positive about my learning. Reflecting on how far I have grown as a student and as an individual, the values I have held close throughout my life can be attributed to these early influencers. The foundations of my characteristics, beliefs, and core values have been set in these younger years and molded me as a student. In these formative years of my education, one important value and habit that my teachers have guided me towards and helped me to establish is a good work ethic. Although other students may have worked at a faster pace than I did, my work ethic helped me to stay positive and work in a diligent way that aligned with my academic habits. As a young student, I also learned about the importance of putting in the necessary time for everything I do. This goes along with a good work ethic, but this value has allowed me to view my accomplishments in a positive light, based on putting forth the effort to be the best possible student I could be. Lastly, a quality that I have developed over these years and continue to stand by is honesty. I have learned that honesty and integrity will lead to a better, more positive future, knowing that you have stayed true to yourself. While I established these elements of my character in elementary school, as I matured, I began to see their positive benefit when I entered middle school at West Hollow. This was a time when my surroundings were new, my learning environment had changed, and new people and faces led to new paths to discover. Rather than focusing on the fear or nerves that are common to many who muddle through these middle school years, I channeled my energy towards a positive outlook that guided my experience. I made amazing friends, found new independence as I walked the halls, and learned from different teachers throughout the day who piqued my interest in their classes. My positivity kept me driven, and while at times the waters were rough, my optimism kept me striving for progress in all aspects of my life. These years that have led up to my time at Half Hollow Hills High School East have been the springboard from which I have jumped in with positive vibes, and they have set me forth with the fundamentals that have grown to be a part of me over time.
To enrich my experiences over the past thirteen years, I have participated in several extracurricular and volunteer interests, which have also taught me important life lessons. When I would play tennis, especially in a private lesson, I would easily become frustrated when I would mess up. My coach, coach Jules, was always patient with me and helped push me in the right direction even when my emotions would get the best of me. Not only did he teach me new skills and help me improve as a tennis player, but he also taught me lessons with morals that I will continue to keep in the back of my mind. He ingrained in me the positive attitude of never giving up and reminded me that everyone will make mistakes, but they will make you stronger in the end. The court became our classroom, a fun, and safe environment, where I improved as a tennis player, learning to persevere with confidence in all realms of my life. Strength within me also came from ten years of dance, where my body became stronger and my mind became equipped for staying true to my passions. Whether attempting a new style, more pirouettes, or a higher leap, learning to have a positive mental attitude was key to my dedication. When dance became competitive, I discovered the true meaning of grit, and knowing that I could get back up after disappointment was an attitude that was facilitated by my positivity. My involvement in volunteer work and charitable organizations has afforded me with another perspective on which to base my positive thoughts. Whether working with children with autism or fundraising for Sunrise Day Camp and serving on its STEAM Team executive board, my belief in positive action to help others was further established and embedded in my pride.
It is sentimental to reflect on my four years in high school and come to accept that it is ending. I remember entering the doors of High School East with a positive outlook, and it is with that same attitude that I am closing this chapter in my life. I leave with cherished memories and a wealth of knowledge and experiences that I can attribute to everyone who shaped me during these years. I have stayed true to the belief that positive thinking drives a positive attitude, and with a positive attitude, you can achieve a positive outcome. When class periods seemed to never end and workloads became insurmountable, I looked at the brighter result that was ahead of me on my journey. When exams overlapped and stress took a toll on my emotions, I believed in myself and stayed focused. When teachers amped up the rigor and I overloaded my schedule with challenging classes and club obligations, I used the power of positive thinking to climb even higher. My commitment to our high school community was also an invaluable experience at HSE as I participated in school events and clubs, and I am especially fond of my growth as a writer for The Thunderbird. Engaging in a multitude of opportunities and learning from everyone in my extended school circle has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and solidified my groundwork for the next four years in college. I have a huge appreciation for those who have helped me to create four unforgettable years with memories that will last a lifetime. While the distance may grow between the friends and teachers that have been a part of my High School East experience, the positive impact that they have had upon my life will remain forever permanent.
Think positive, be positive, and positive things will happen. For me, my path of positivity has led me to become a Badger, where I will begin my studies at the University of Wisconsin. I will hold the lessons that I have learned, both in and out of the classroom, close to my heart, and revere those who have impacted me. My future will continue to bring endless moments where I will embrace a positive mindset as I strive for success in my life, and I want to leave you, the students of High School East, with my belief in the importance of positivity as you reach toward your own goals and dreams.