Class of 2021, it’s almost time—soon


When my second-to-last dance team auditions concluded last week, a rough draft of the eighteen members of the 2019-2020 FHC varsity dance team gathered into the gym. To initiate the team’s process of becoming familiarized with one another, our coach encouraged us to say our name and the grade we were going into. When my turn arrived, I announced the required information; however, the words eleventh grade awkwardly departed from my mouth, and my face morphed into a squished appearance as the weight of that word fell upon me.

It did not feel like the word eleventh was the correct word for me to use. It feels as if I just walked through the creaky, heavy green doors of the freshman-hall entrance for the first time yesterday with solely my sister by my side: the only person I knew in the entire school. It feels as if I just attended and danced at my first football game, and for once, felt like I belonged instead of like a young, ostracized outsider. 

Was I not just a freshman yesterday?

I apparently was not. The day before my third dance team audition concluded, my sister graduated from high school. When we entered FHC for the first time together, she was a junior, and I was a freshman. Walking in that morning, I was attached to her until the very last possible second. I did not want to be alone and commence high school as much as she did not desire to be anywhere near me for another second.

Last Tuesday, I witnessed a second sibling graduate high school—the final Mittlestadt kid before me. Within her graduation ceremony, I sampled what my high school graduation experience will be and look like in less than two years. The reality that my high school career will conclude in less than two years pounded into me like heavy rain onto a windshield immediately after emerging from under the temporary shelter of a bridge. I attempted to reassure myself that the amount of time that two entire years are is not brief in the least; however, I could not ignore the fact that I have been attending high school for two years, and that that time utterly flew by.

With the Class of 2019 graduated, the Class of 2020—the final class before mine matures to seniors—has blossomed into the leaders of the school. The Class of 2020, consisting of students only a single year older than students in my class, are seniors.

This means that the Class of 2021 and I are juniors.

I physically cannot wrap my head around that.

Next year, our lives will be contaminated with excessive rounds of standardized testing and a new definition of the stress that choosing our futures entails. We will obtain test scores that will allow us to further plan our futures, and we will commence the processes of beginning our applications to those futures. We will be insanely stressed, and while the class above us will be experiencing the culmination of their high-school years, we will be experiencing the stressful slump.

But, just as quickly as our first two years were completed, our third will be in the blink of an eye. The Candlelight Ceremony will represent another passing of leadership onto another group of incoming seniors. We will be those incoming seniors.

Although we will not be the “top dogs” of FHC next year, we have the entire school year to prepare to be. We will experience a level of difficulty in school we are not familiar with. We will experience an amount of participation into special, school-related events, such as the Student Council Board and the Powderpuff game, that were previously unknown and unavailable to us.

This means that the Class of 2021 and I are juniors. I physically cannot wrap my head around that.”

We have two more years. Whether they feel accelerated or sluggish will vary. We should make the most of these two years: learn from the seniors, intelligently manage our stress, and remain extremely concentrated in order to reach our goals. We still have a gargantuan amount of material to learn and memorize at school, and we still have countless opportunities to learn skills and lessons from the Class of 2020 as they experience and enjoy their senior year.

We will not be seniors next year, Class of 2021; but, it’s almost time—soon.