Farewell, Issaquah High School

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Farewell, Issaquah High School

GOODBYE SENIORS: As graduation is just a few days away, how do IHS seniors feel about leaving the school behind for good?

GOODBYE SENIORS: As graduation is just a few days away, how do IHS seniors feel about leaving the school behind for good?

Connor McKee-Sargent

GOODBYE SENIORS: As graduation is just a few days away, how do IHS seniors feel about leaving the school behind for good?

Connor McKee-Sargent

Connor McKee-Sargent

GOODBYE SENIORS: As graduation is just a few days away, how do IHS seniors feel about leaving the school behind for good?


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As senior year comes to a close and graduation is just a handful of days away, I interviewed seven seniors to reflect on their experience at Issaquah High School before they leave it once and for all.

At such a pivotal time in one’s life, emotions can be riding high. However, Priscilla Tran is calm and collected before leaving IHS. Tran explains, “I feel good because I feel like I’m leaving on a good note. It’s good to have mellow feelings with everyone here.” Like Tran, Emily Bautel also is full of good feelings prior to graduation, saying she is “pretty excited to go off onto college,” although she’ll “miss some aspects” of high school.

Some seniors like Rahul Hegde are ready to have more freedom in college, where class schedules are much more based off one’s own interests. Still, Hegde is not entirely free of sentimental feelings for Issaquah High. He says, “I’m reminiscing about the past but also I’m excited about the future.” Like Hegde, Hannah Chernin has mixed feelings about leaving IHS behind for good. Chernin says, “I think it’s bittersweet, definitely. I think I definitely liked my time here, but leaving means that there’s a future I have to figure out and that’s very daunting.”

As seniors look back on their four years at Issaquah High, I asked them to summarize their experience in just a few words. For Mason Maron, his time at IHS was a “fun” experience. He says, “I made a lot of new friends, had a lot of new experiences, [and] got involved in a lot of different stuff that I didn’t see myself getting involved in when I was in middle school.” Like Maron, Andy Qin also had an “overall good experience” at Issaquah High. “I met most of my friends here,” Qin explains.

While most seniors only have experience at IHS, many still believe it stands apart from other high schools in a multitude of ways. From size to diversity, or rigor of academics, many seniors agree that Issaquah High is unique. Bautel believes “it’s really inclusive. They want everyone to be a part of their activities or spirit days or anything.” Like Bautel, Sophie Lee also points to the inclusive nature of IHS. Lee says, “I think IHS has a very nice community where students and teachers are both really supportive and compared to other schools I feel like there’s a lot less exclusion.”

In terms of academics, Hegde believes “the quality of education here seems to be a lot better than a lot of other schools and the involvement of the teachers seems to be a lot better, too.” Chernin also agrees that the academic opportunities offered at IHS set it apart from other high schools. “I think I’d go back to academics because I think there definitely is a higher quality of academics here than other places,” Chernin explains. “I think about it with AP classes and stuff like that. We’re all super stressed about taking it but we’re already so much more prepared than other schools are.”

As part of their reflection on the past four years, I asked seniors to pick their favorite memories from IHS; the diversity of their favorite experiences speaks to the variety of opportunities to get involved at the high school. When asked to choose her favorite memory, Tran selected her time on the IHS girl’s tennis team: “I really, really liked the tennis team last year. I had a really good time with all of my friends….Getting to be on the tennis team with some of my closest friends was really nice.”

A completely different favorite experience at IHS comes from Hegde’s time in the theater department. “I think one of my favorite memories is being able to bond with the cast, like the opening day of doing the show, and being able to show people what we’ve worked on for the past few months,” Hegde describes.

When picking a favorite memory from IHS, Chernin reminisces about her time as a part of ASB. “I think that just being able…to plan things for the school, [and] they don’t know that I’m the one who planned it, but it’s kind of gratifying to [think], ‘Hey, I really did put a lot of effort into planning that activity. It either went really well and people loved it or people didn’t like it and that sucked but it’s okay because it’s going through the process of things you have to do in the real world.’”

With such an active student body and staff team, it is no secret that Issaquah High carries out a multitude of school traditions every year. The ones that stand out the most to seniors are Winter Wishes, the secret gift-giving activity that takes place in the holiday season, and Sing-A-Grams, the personal musical performances ordered my friends and performed by members of the IHS Choir around Valentine’s Day.

Maron selects Sing-A-Grams as his favorite IHS tradition saying, “I think the Sing-A-Grams are fun. They’re always really awkward, but that’s kind of part of the fun of it,” while Qin opts for Winter Wishes: “I remember one year my ruler broke and I wished for a ruler and they just gave me a ruler….I thought it was nice that somebody took time out of their day just to get me a ruler.”

Just like school-wide traditions, IHS senior traditions also give the senior class something to look forward to every year. For Chernin, the Senior Swag stands out to her as her favorite senior tradition:“I’m not sure I’m going to take my senior gear to college, but [it will be nice] to come back home and be like, ‘Hey, this was a significant part of my life. There’s something still there to show for it.’” Bautel thinks the All-Night Grad Party after graduation is the best senior tradition, while Qin likes the Senior Breakfast held prior to graduation rehearsal the most.

I wanted the seniors to particularly reflect on their growth over the course of their time at IHS, all the way from freshman year to now. All the seniors agreed they grew in many ways over the past four years. For Hegde, the community at Issaquah High greatly helped him come out of his shell. “I just think the community…really lets you figure out who you want to be or who you are, and it definitely changed me from not sure what I should do or who I am into someone who is comfortable.”

For Chernin, talking to adults changed from a challenging task to an easy feat from freshman year to senior year. Chernin says, “I think that I was always very charismatic even in middle school, but I definitely was awkward talking to adults and that is much better now. That’s something that they prep you for.”

After spending time looking back on their years at Issaquah High School, are seniors ready to say goodbye?

“Yes and no,” Maron says. “I mean, no because it feels so soon…but in a way also I feel mentally prepared. I know it’s coming up and I know everything’s going to change so I’m kind of ready.” Tran echoes Maron’s sentiments, saying, “Yeah I think I’m ready to say goodbye but not in a way that I’m like, ‘Thank God I’m leaving high school.’ It’s kind of in the way [like], ‘Thanks for the experience, but I’m ready to move on.’”

Hegde expresses similar feelings regarding leaving IHS. He concludes, “I’m ready, I’m ready to say goodbye. I’ll be sad but you know what, I’m ready to go on to the next adventure.”

Ultimately, at the end of high school, most seniors likely feel the same way. While their time at IHS was a memorable experience, what is to come after graduation keeps seniors on the edge of their seats, ready to move on. They are nostalgic for their time here, but ready to say farewell to Issaquah High School come June 13, 2019.