Reflection on the High School Experience

May Nguyen, Staff Writer

As the end of the school year and graduation is approaching, many people are closing an educational and emotional chapter in their life, making room for a new one. The high school experience may bring different lingering feelings that encompasses the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Nonetheless, it is a monumental part of many people’s lives. Let us take a trip down memory lane to look at the standout events of one’s high school education.

While the graduating class of 2023 was struck by the COVID pandemic through much of the four high school years, many learned to make the most of it. Senior Victor Guevera says, “My favorite part was coming back to school in person after being in quarantine for a year.” He also highlights the fact that joining track and field was a memorable part of his experience. Being a part of clubs and extracurricular activities seem to be a common factor in creating connections and defining memories. Senior Pavana Rajesh says, “I enjoy talking to people at the clubs I am in, it is always fun because I love meeting new people.” She would advise that others do the same. Rajesh adds, “I joined a lot of clubs my freshman year and I stayed in the ones that I was interested in. I would recommend joining clubs and picking 1 to 3 that you are interested in to dedicate more time and effort into.” Beyond having fun, extracurriculars can bring other benefits. Crimson Education says, “One of the greatest advantages extracurricular activities give you is “real world” skills. These skills include goalsetting, teamwork, and leadership skills.” Whether it is sports, music, robotics, or Key Club, finding a place to fit will help people ease into new settings.

Another part that is often emphasized when speaking about high school is school spirit and events. Senior Paige Ference shares her love for dressing up in spirit for football games. She says, “One of my favorite experiences was the powderpuff game, I got to spend time with my friends playing flag football and we won! I wish I had taken the ASB class because I like to be involved in school spirit and planning everything.” In terms of school events, one that often stands out is Swinging in Vienna. Senior Kate O’Brien says, “My favorite [event] was probably Swinging in Vienna. I absolutely loved the live band, the music along with dancing with my friends was awesome. Participating in events is fun but taking part in making them happen is also special. Senior Timothy Tan says, “My favorite event was Swinging in Vienna because I am part of Evergreen Philharmonic and I enjoy playing all the waltzes and polkas that I rarely get to play anywhere else. Also, it was a place where I made many memories not just with Evergreen members but also with people in band and alumni.” Some things are also set up to especially make the last year stand out for seniors. Rajesh shares, “Senior Sunrise was super fun because I got to see everyone and go out to brunch with my friends before school.” Little moments seen throughout the years are often the most notable ones.

We cannot discuss high school without mentioning academics. The sentiment among seniors is to strive to do the best of your abilities. Ference says, “I had the expectation of taking my classes and future seriously to prepare me for college. It paid off because I got good grades throughout high school.” It is also important to find the balance. Senior David Kohorn says, “Worry about your grades but not completely at the cost of fun. Take it easy, you do not have to prove anything by taking on more than you can handle.” Senior Riley Newton agrees with that idea. She shares, “I was pretty satisfied with my high school education, and I think I made the right academic decisions, I’m graduating so that is what mainly matters to me.” The goal of a high school education is helping students fulfill their post-graduation goals. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In October 2022, 62 percent of 2022 high school graduates ages 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities.” So, whether Issaquah students chose to pursue a college education or not, they should be leaving with the foundation to build future successes.

To conclude, the high school experience is what each person creates for themselves. Participating in clubs, school events, and choosing classes that personally benefit will help everyone have a better time. Even if the experience was not fun, remember that high school does not define a person, there is always time ahead to do something different. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2023!