One last goodbye for the thing that started it all


On the first day of my sophomore year, I walked into Room 139 for the first time.

And I never really walked out again.

“Writing for Publication” was printed on my schedule for third hour. “Ken George” was the teacher.

I didn’t know what this class was; all I knew was it had “writing” in the title, and a few teachers of the past had told me that I could maybe write. I didn’t know who Ken George was; I hadn’t yet connected the screaming man at the basketball games to this “Ken George” I had never heard of listed on my schedule.

I didn’t know anything at all. I was fifteen and lost and drifting and confused and simply walking into the first and only class I’d ever signed up for all on my own without any nudge or order from a counselor or mother, utterly unbeknownst to what awaited me in the next three years.

I walked in, and the chairs were arranged in a big circle around the room in the classic Ken-George-on-the-first-day-of-school fashion that was so foreign at the time.

The room was filled with a dozen or so girls, all juniors and sophomores, except for a single freshman. In the midst of all the uneasy, the class physically diverged into two arbitrary groups, drifting to our own grades, intimidated by the daunting circle of chairs.

The class grew to be my favorite of the day and one of the most unique classroom experiences of my high school career. Our all-female WFP gang grew close, bonded by the unconventional class and the stress of more writing than any other class we’d had before.

On the first day of my sophomore year, I walked into Room 139 for the first time. And I never really walked out again.

And I had fun, and I felt like I was finding something, but I couldn’t really place what that something was yet.

I remember that time of my life as very fast-moving; one day I was walking into Room 139 for the first time, and the next day I was applying for Editor in Chief, and then all of a sudden I was a junior and Editor and overwhelmed, but so earnestly excited.

I don’t know why Mr. George named me Editor two years ago, but I am forever indebted to him for it. Whatever it was he saw in me, I’m glad he did. I have never been so fundamentally changed by a school experience before.

For two years straight, I have poured so much of my very self into The Central Trend, and for what feels like the first time in my life, I can see and feel my impact and impression on another entity. I can be proud of what I contributed. That feels really good.

But whatever I tried to give to TCT pales in comparison to what it has given me.

TCT brought me back to my first love, words, and forced me with such strength to figure out how to use them and respect their value. TCT cleared out a seat at the FHC table for me, gave me a purpose, and drew me closer to my class and school and community.

It has given me passion and drive and self. I didn’t know what I could offer to anything at all; I didn’t know what my abilities were or where they even had any worth.

But TCT and Editor in Chief gave me that— wrapped it up in a pretty package, tied a bow on top, and then made me work like crazy for it.

But I couldn’t have enjoyed it— the work, the deadlines, the late nights at the school— more.

And how could I ever even articulate how profoundly impacted I’ve been by the people— the heart and soul— of TCT. These past three years, I have found the funniest and brightest and kindest friends. Thank you, my lovely TCT ladies, for finding and accepting and loving me. I’ve needed that over these years.

And, of course, Ken George himself has done more for me than he ever had to, ever should have, ever was expected to. I’ll probably say thank you to him a hundred times in the next few weeks, and it still won’t be enough.

I really don’t like goodbyes, and this one is really hard, made a whole lot more difficult by these people.

TCT helped me find myself, and in a few days, I won’t be so easily found— not on, not in a chair in Room 139.

I think that’s okay. I think I did a lot of doing and a lot of finding, and this search, this pursuit, is over, and I am happier and smarter and richer for it.

But nothing can ever replace this place, this home, these people, and its impact on me. Nothing can ever replace my love and value for all of it. Nothing can ever replace the first time I walked into Room 139 and every other time after that.

TCT, it has truly been a joy and an honor. Thank you always.