It’s time to close the page on chapter one


Shelly Batterbee

This was me, excited for my first day of Kindergarten.

My friends and I are all dying. Through AP exams, decisions, and goodbyes, it’s been a struggle. Though after the stormy darkness, there is a lifetime of memories that’s only just beginning. 

I’ve been a student of FHC since I was a Bulldog at Ada Elementary in 2009, standing outside in a line full of strangers, waiting for Mrs. Katt to lead us into the building. My family has been a part of FHC for about six years longer. 

Ada and Grand Rapids was so enormous back then. I had no concept of the outside world—no concept of the adventures I’d be headed towards a mere thirteen years later. I just ran around the playground playing tag with my brother while he took asylum on the big kids playground—the one I was too little to play on. 

As the years moved on, Geoffrey changed schools, and I gained a plethora of friends. I danced in talent shows with them, walked around the town, and learned my basic skills required to move on. Even back then, I would stress out about tests; I never wanted to see any red marks, and in my pre-spelling tests, I had to get as far as humanly possible. 

And then, in the room across from the lunch room, I had my first real moment of stress. I had my Goodwillie interview with Mrs. Dondit. I wrung my hands and talked about why I wanted to go to GES. I was terrified. But, in a way, it prepared me for the next two years. The next two years of pushing me beyond my comfort zone—talking to new people, giving presentations, and writing about anything and everything—what I used to hate, but am now grateful for and in love with. 

After those years making a family at Goodwillie, along with my five years spent as a bulldog, I cried on the last day of school. After my bulldog years, my mom and sister were there to make it better—we got out the bubbles and remembered that I would see those friends again, and I still was a kid. I could have fun and remember my old school, but it was time to move on to a new one. And after getting of the bus on the last day of spring camp, I cried as I hugged all of my friends and teachers. My family was there to remind me that those memories would stay, and my friends would always be my family, no matter how far apart I ended up drifting away from them.

Middle school is pretty much one sprint of a blur—all mixed colors and confusing grades. But I don’t really regret anything I did at the time—they weren’t the most embarrassing days of my life like everyone sets it out to be. But I didn’t end up going to my eighth grade celebration. It was the same day as my ballet performance, and it wasn’t like I would never see those people again. I had all of high school to learn more about them. 

So after skipping over my “graduation,” I found myself in the high school. On the first day of ninth grade, in a flurry of my already confused self, I found my first hour class, sat down, and was ready to start my day when I was ushered out of one classroom on a tour to where I would really start my days as a freshman in Honors English 9. And to end my day, I sat down in the front right corner in Mr. Labenz’s room far away from my freshmen friends. But I ended up making one of my best friends because of it. 

[My memories] will last within these words that I have written over the past three years.

Sophomore year was my first high school year of scheduling chaos, but my first day of school I ended up in Mr. George’s room in one giant circle sitting next to Tananya, worried about what I just got myself into. But then, we just talked and the veteran staff, which I ended up terrified but in awe of, told me how incredible TCT was, and I wish I could have done the same for more newbies in the years that followed. 

That was also the year that I was comfortable being in AP World and fooled an entire class to believe that I wasn’t the saboteur by doing absolutely nothing, and the year that COVID-19 made everything insane. 

Junior year I cried on the first day of school during first hour. No one was there to see it, but that was the reason why I cried. Mr. George just brought me to the other side of the room, beyond the wall that was up and told me it was all mine. I was not ready to give up all of my friends in TCT, but I couldn’t give up on AP Chem, and I sure as heck wasn’t about to drop French. 

And then this year, another year of hanging out with the squirrel statues in room 139/140, but this year, at least the editors got to keep me slightly sane. 

This year, a year of finales, firsts, and my friends pushing me out of my comfort zone and into celebrations and interviews I was too scared to do. This year, a year of stress and applications, waitlists and deferments, decisions and last minute changes. 

I was fully ready and committed to becoming a Ute at the University of Utah, so much so that my Senior Edition college is wrong. But on Friday, I got off the waitlist at a dream school, and three days later, I’m a Hoosier.

So, what I have learned so far and after writing this final goodbye—as cliché as it is—is that all good memories will last. Mine will last within these words that I have written over the past three years. In the class that I was terrified of, and now I can’t imagine not having it.

And with all of that, thanks for letting me rant. Thanks for letting me share. Thanks for being my emotional support system, even if you’ve never talked to me. Thanks for giving me confidence every time something trended—especially the stories I thought no one cared about or that I thought weren’t very good. 

Thank you for giving me a voice and letting me talk. I’ll miss it.