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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Anyway, don’t be a stranger

Maylee Ohlman
A collage of some of my favorite moments in the past year.

On August 19, 2023, I told my dad that I urgently required a trip to the beach at sunset that day. It was the last Saturday before school started again, where it would recite its endless cycle for another nine months. I needed the beach trip right at that moment because I knew I had to feel the sweet Lake Michigan air on my skin and revel in the beauty of a quiet, effervescent Michigan night one last time before I succumbed to school’s gnarly hands that never fail into coercing me into slumping over math sheets and projects until I can bear it no longer.

And I was right. I did need this sunset. At that moment, a soaring freedom leaped from my heart, bounding over the lapping waves of the lake before returning to me once more, where it would slumber until next summer.

At least, that’s what I thought was going to happen.

What I didn’t expect from the nine months I spent walking down the familiar school corridors was that I would find a new place where my freedom could still run wild and where my happiness would soar.

That place was in people.

People—the one place I never thought my heart would once again grab hold of. Of course, I’ve always had my family and best friend, but I never considered that maybe my heart would find new homes, latch on to them, and never let them go.

By the second semester of my freshman year, I’d nearly sworn myself off the possibility of new friends. I’d seen the atrocities that people could commit to loved ones and felt the pain of some people passing me off as just another worthless human. I’d seen the devastation that crumbles the walls of fragile minds and how words can wound someone beyond healing.

However, little did I know that one room in the cacophony of chaos that is high school would alter the course of my life indefinitely.

The first time I stepped into Room 139 wasn’t yet during my sophomore year. It was near the tail end of freshman year when I was exploring classes to possibly take the following year. Timid as ever, I tentatively walked through the door of the classroom, fully expecting to see yet another gray, bare-backed room with no hopeful emotion. However, I saw the opposite.

I saw the possibility of a home within the fortress I saw as anything but. With the soft, lived-in couches and the bright, colorful ceiling tiles, I couldn’t help but notice how much expression and devotion had been poured into the room over the years. And even that was before I’d met a bald, occasionally grouchy teacher who would become one of my most significant support systems over the following months.

What I didn’t expect from the nine months I spent walking down the familiar school corridors was that I would find a new place where my freedom could still run wild and where my happiness would soar.

With each weekday afternoon, my excitement about once again entering Room 139 grew and grew. Each day, I found myself grinning widely as I remembered I would spend two consecutive hours writing and exploring in my safe space at school. With the help of Mr. George and all my fellow students in first-semester Writing for Publication, I rediscovered my love and ambition for storytelling and expressing my voice through words.

In second semester, my love for Room 139 and the people in it only grew as I joined the official Central Trend. Honestly, I was endlessly excited to have my words officially published three times every two weeks. But that was not the reason TCT became so near and dear to my heart.

TCT helped me establish friendships I would never have thought possible before. As I write this, I realize that this will culminate into one big thank you. So, to Evelyn, Addie, Ella, Elle, and Ellerie, thank you for being the brightest part of my day. I will forever cherish the memories of our fifth-hour shenanigans and the honest edits I received from all of you on my stories. The times spent in the podcast room laughing over BuzzFeed Quiz results are among my absolute favorite memories of high school. I will be forever grateful for our friendship and time spent together (special thank you to Addie for being my chemistry lab buddy)!

To everyone else in fifth hour TCT, thank you for being endlessly supportive of everyone and always being the kindest humans alive. I’ll never be able to express my love and gratitude for the people who have forever changed my life.

Mr. George, I am still—and always will be—sad and slightly angry that I only had one year with you as my teacher. With your guidance and support, I’ve become a much more confident and better person overall. I can’t thank you enough for giving me pep talks when I was at my lowest and always giving me good advice for writing and life. You’ve created a place in the school of love and belonging in Room 139 that I’m confident no one else can replicate. I’ll be forever grateful for you. Thank you for everything.

In the face of it all, I’m still introverted, awkward, and a little bit insane. Even so, over the past school year, I’ve grown in ways I once thought were unfeasible. I’ve begun to heal old elementary school friendships and become more comfortable in my own shoes, speaking out to a crowd that accepts me for me. Looking back, I know my younger self would be so proud of how far I’ve come.

So, to all the people in my life, don’t be a stranger. Because truly, despite it all, every day, I feel incredibly blessed to have lived through such wonderful times with all of you. I cannot wait to see what junior year brings for me and for all the beautiful people with souls that soar.

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About the Contributor
Maylee Ohlman
Maylee Ohlman, Staff Writer
Maylee Ohlman is a sophomore going on to her first year on The Central Trend.  She spontaneously decided to join Writing for Publication this year and is now excited to keep writing for the rest of her time in high school. She dances on the FHCVDT in the winter. In her free time, she loves to read, swim at the beach, and try new bubble tea spots across Michigan. Maylee loves to feel like a tourist anywhere she goes and aspires to travel as much as she can in her lifetime. Besides reading and traveling, she's always loved movies and good food, and hopes to eventually combine her passions into a journalism career. Favorite book: I Hope This Doesn't Find You by Ann Liang Favorite TV show: The Last of Us Current favorite song: No One Knows by Stephen Sanchez and Laufey Go-to bubble tea order: A peach milk tea with lychee jelly and tapioca pearls

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