A year to graduation

To me, graduation is a curious thing. Over 3.6 million students will graduate from high school in the US this year alone. Yet what leaves me the most amazed about graduation is the unity of the whole event; hundreds of students walk across a stage together. However, the meaning behind graduation is much deeper than just gaining your diploma. Peers who started education together simultaneously end their journey as they walk across the stage as thirteen years of camaraderie culminate with the last few days of senior year.

Thirteen years. Thirteen years is a long time for a group of people to get to know each other. The decade of time spent together reflects within each and every member of the class while the spirit of that class becomes embedded within each and every student. It astonishes me that a class of people have always been together. From learning to add numbers in elementary school, to solving algebra in middle school, all the way to deciphering calculus in high school. The class grows together as one functioning unit; like a complicated piece of technology with different parts, each member of the class slots in to serve a purpose and better the class in a specific way.  

Though graduation is more than a year away for me, it’s been something I’ve heavily considered over the past few months. Because even though I’m graduating with the FHC class of 2019, there’s a piece of me implanted within classes worldwide that I was previously a part of. At one point in time, I was considered a member of the “Class of 2019” in schools in East Kentwood, Shanghai, Tampa, and England. Though I may not attend those schools anymore, the piece of me left behind still feels the pride that the remaining members of the class will be graduating and moving on soon.

I’ve always found it hard to identify with my class– whether it be in this state or another. When a group of people has been together from the beginning and each plays a specific role in the well-oiled machine that is their class, it’s hard to come in as a newcomer and figure out where exactly your place in the class will be. But something changed when I joined FHC sophomore year because, for the first time, being new didn’t affect my role at school. I’m forever grateful to FHC for giving me a place, both physically and metaphorically, in the class of 2019 because it’s not an easy thing to do for peers who have grown up together over the past decade.

I haven’t been here from the beginning, and there’s no point trying to pretend that I have. I can’t relate to the experience of the elementary schools, 5/6 building, or the middle school; in fact, I’ve only been here for a sixth of the time everyone else has. But this fact will no longer hold me back because I’ve come to realize that I’m just as much a part of my class as anyone else. I may not have as many memories of Forest Hills from the past thirteen years, but for the many that I have made, I’ll hold dear for a long time to come.