Ashlyn Korpak, Staff Writer

Today I sat in the back of Ken George’s class as he said his final goodbyes to The Central Trend’s seniors. He has been a teacher, mentor, and friend to all of them. For some, Mr. George and The Central Trend have been constants in their life since day one of high school. But now, a new chapter in their life is beginning. Which means this chapter must come to an end.

He spoke about each senior, highlighting some of their best times together, the things he admired about them, and told each of them that he would always be here to help. I watched as all eight seniors came up to give him a hug, most of them with tears in their eyes. I watched as they looked to the door and realized that they would soon be walking out for the last time, leaving the safety and familiarity of not only room 139 but FHC.

The emotion in the room was palpable.

As all of this was unfolding before me, it was as if I could see three years into the future. To the day when I would sit, just as I was then, and listen to Mr. George talk about me. I could see myself as I stood up and walked over to hug him goodbye. Some of the faces around me were blurry, but the feeling was crystal clear. I could hear in my head what Mr. George will probably say about me. And I know, even now, just what I plan to say to him.

I could see myself crying as I hugged the kids that I had been with for four years. I saw myself taking final pictures with my friends and fellow TCT-ers, savoring my last day in a classroom that had rapidly become my safe haven.

It was as if I had taken a step into the future, a mere three years from now, and gotten a glimpse of what it would be like to have to say goodbye.

Seeing everyone crying, hugging, and laughing, all around me took me not only to the future, but also to the past.

Back to the beginning.

On that very first day when I walked into room 139. I remember seeing a circle of green chairs half-filled with girls. Older girls. Girls I didn’t recognize. I took a seat as far from people as I could get, wondering what I had gotten myself into. As the bell rang, I looked around the circle and had no idea how precious all of the girls around me would become. On that first day, I saw strangers. Today, I looked around me and saw my Central Trend family.