I saw Audrey answer these questions on her blog after attending her cousin’s graduation ceremony, and though I am not able to attend, my youngest cousin graduates from high school this month and I thought these would be fun to answer reflecting on when I graduated 9 years ago.
What kind of student you were in high school (popular, nerd, sport obsessed, choir, etc)?
I don’t know that I ever fit into a category. I attended three high schools in three states; 9th grade in Alabama, 10th grade in Colorado and 11th & 12th grade in Montana.
Freshman year I was in band and did tech for theater. I was in French club and competed in a state French competition. I was really involved with LifeTeen at church and in our teen choir at church. I had a really good group of friends and loved this year of high school; it actually was probably my favorite looking back on it all.
Sophomore year I was in band and speech & debate where I did parliamentary debate. I also taught third grade Sunday school and did JV track & field. We found out we were moving in November, so I didn’t really try to establish friendships like I did the previous year in Alabama. I had a good group of friends from band and English class, and the two girls I spent the most time with had been in Alabama the year prior too when our dads were all at Air War College at Maxwell; I had gone to church with one of them and the other girl I had met on a retreat we had done with the Catholic school in Montgomery; in Colorado we were all neighbors.
Junior year I was in band again, did more tech for theater productions, planned the pep rallies and was on the MORP committee, served as the events intern at church and again was in our church’s teen choir. I was also in the all state orchestra which was fun.
Senior year I was the Student Life editor for yearbook, a staff-writer for our student newspaper, competed in Youth Legislature and served as one of CMR’s two delegates to Girl’s State, I was one of the two MCs for the pep rallies and was again very involved with my church’s youth group.
Because I moved so often, I was just friends with everyone; I had no idea what the clique breakdowns were when I was the new kid so I made friends in each class and activity I was involved in and left it at that.
About your school. Was it private? Public? How many in graduating class? Mascots? School colors?
I attended public schools in each state. When I graduated from CMR there were 367 of us.
My Alabama school colors were red and white and their mascot was a Lion.
My Colorado school colors were blue and white and their mascot was a Kadet. Which looked like a cross between a falcon and an eagle; a nod to the United States Air Force Academy since our school was a public school on base that non military kids were bused into if they were zoned to attend there.
My Montana school colors were kelly green and old gold, a nod to the Green Bay Packers who won the Super Bowl the year before the school opened. Our mascot was a Rustler, which is a cowboy, but on t shirts and uniforms it was a cow skull.
About some of your favorite memories of high school or what stands out the most. Any teachers? Specific classes?
I think I’ll pick the first memory that comes to mind from each year.
9th grade would be our band trip to Disney World’s Magic Music Days. Two specific memories about that trip stand out; my toe getting injured at the Haunted Mansion when in the room before you get on the ride, a grown adult man who was larger set got scared, jumped back and crushed my toe; my toe doubled if not tripled in size and it made wearing any shoes but open toe sandals impossible and made walking around the rest of that trip miserable; I had to keep going to the first aid stations around the parks to get it cleaned out and re-bandaged. The second memory was watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the way home; in the middle of the movie the bus broke down and those of us watching freaked out a bit. I had some great teachers freshman year of high school, but my French teacher was hands down my favorite.
10th grade would probably be my awkward New Year’s Eve date/kiss or getting miserably sick on the way home from New Mexico where we had competed in the regional qualifiers for Bands of America. Although the state marching band competition at Mile High Stadium was pretty cool too, as was sledding on Christmas, because we had gotten so much Christmas snow! My favorite class this year was my British Literature class; the teacher was also the debate coach and easily the best teacher I had that year at school.
11th grade my most memorable experiences were forged with my friend Colette in writing our research papers on our assigned poets for my favorite teacher in English class. I had Emily Dickinson and hated her; but got the project done through many late nights and gallons of coffee. This is the year my love affair with coffee really began and the year that solidified my love of English and History because my teachers were amazing in both!
12th grade had a lot of memories. One of my favorites was hosting an after-prom hangout at our house on base and most of my friends coming were Mormon, so their moms all came over too for awhile to make sure nothing bad was going to happen. We had fondue and watched James Bond movies since our prom had been James Bond themed. All very, very mild. But having a kitchen full of moms at 2 a.m. still makes me laugh! My favorite classes were AP Lit, AP Gov and Yearbook. I also love the fact that when our Lit teacher was asking us what book we could use that applied a variety of themes that he was naming we would use for the essay on our exam I said I would use Gone With the Wind no matter what theme he would throw out. He rolled his eyes at me and asked me to be serious; the essay on the exam was something about a character’s redemption changing from the reader viewing them in one light, to someone totally different by the end of the book… so I wrote the essay on Rhett Butler and received a perfect score on the exam.
A piece of advice you would pass on to your children or any child entering high school.
I think the best advice I have to anyone in high school, and what I used to tell the youth groups I worked with, is just to be nice. Say hello to people, smile, look people in the eye. Being friendly and someone that get along with everyone goes a long way in life during and after high school and opens you up to new experiences and opportunities. Be kind.
A piece of advice you would pass on to your children or any child exiting high school. I would say to cherish the memories and friendships made because they change rapidly as you move away to college, even if you go to college with many of the kids you graduated with. I would also say it is okay to let go of the friendships that fit in high school, but no longer fit as you enter a different stage in life. I would also say to write a thank you letter to the teachers that made an impact on you – even if you haven’t had them since freshman year, and especially if what they taught you is what you’re pursuing in college. Gratitude and kindness go a long way.