To The High School Student Going Into Their Senior Year

To The High School Student Going Into Their Senior Year

This is the year to make it count.

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I know you were told that high school was the best four years of your life. But as senior year begins, this is the year to make it count. There are so many things that happen senior year, prom, senior trip, college acceptance letters and then it all ends with graduation. Yes, graduation is super exciting but you have to do some work before you get there. The Common Application or the multiple supplemental essays that have to be written for the colleges. Or the many times that your parents forced you to take the SAT or ACT. The three years prior all led to this. The times your parents spent yelling at you to make sure your grades were good and you had a high GPA. Or the times they yelled at you not to hang out with friends because you had an essay to write or to study.

While filling out applications remember to take breaks. This is a stressful time so breaks will help you focus. Make a checklist of what you are supposed to get done each week. Follow through on your deadlines. And do not compare your progress to your friends.

Once you get your acceptance letters back and you pick a college, you feel a big weight lifted off your shoulders. You will stop getting a thousand questions about what schools you have applied to, and then you have to sit there and list out the many schools, while you are then thinking about how much more you still have to do and how nervous you are to hear back from schools. Although people still ask about college, the questions seem easier because you have your mind made up. If you are like me I did not decide until 2 weeks before decision day. Or you could have chosen early decision and will find out in November, I envy you.

If you are a lucky school district, you are able to take a senior trip. The senior trip was probably one of the best moments of senior year but honestly probably the best part of senior year. Take every moment in and enjoy every single second, stay up late and wake up early. Once the senior trip is over, you will blink and it will be graduation.

Enjoy every moment that senior year gives you, make memories with your friends. Participate in spirit week, attend pep rallies and football games. This is a great year, so make the most of it. Cherish every moment. As cheesy as it is, this year only happens once and then you are off to college.

Once graduation happens it seems so surreal. That day doesn't seem real because the four years of high school led up to this moment. Your name is called and you walk across the stage to get your diploma. Throwing up our caps after was such a magical time and that concluded graduation. That concluded the four years of high school. I walked into high school a different person than I walked out. I am forever thankful for how much I grew and changed.

So best of luck in your senior year and make it count.

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To The Girl Who Wears My Jersey

Now that you wear my jersey, here's what I'd like to tell you.
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To the girl who wears my jersey,

As an athlete, a jersey and number is more than just something you wear during a game. It means something more to an athlete.

One of the saddest parts of an athlete's career is when they have to give that jersey up for someone else to wear when they move on in life. After sitting in a box for a couple months after graduation, another athlete comes along and takes the jersey as their own. So, here's some things I would like to say to the girl that is wearing my jersey.

I hope you are working hard at the game. I hope that you are putting in extra hours when practice is over, and going 110% doing whatever you are doing. Enjoy the time you have now because soon it will be gone. It goes by in the blink of an eye and before you know it you will leaving your jersey behind just like I did, so cherish every moment. When I wore that jersey, I thought that the games and practices would never end until it got close to the end.

That jersey you're wearing has been through everything. It's gone through winning streaks, heartbreaking losses, comebacks, and blowouts. It's full of memories that I made with my teammates for years. There were the long bus rides or the pre-game traditions. There were the times we went out to eat and I got food on it, and times where it held my tears after a tough loss. That jersey you have has literally been with me through blood, sweat, and tears. It's seen all of the hard work I have put in on the field or court. I met so many different and amazing people in that jersey. I've played for coaches that have showed me perspectives of the game that I never saw before. I traveled to small towns, big cities, beaches, and other places I never thought I would see. It's an exciting time when you have that jersey on. You will meet new people, learn new things, and travel to places you never thought you would go before.

The jersey you are wearing means something to me, because I picked it for a reason and wore it for so many years. I picked the number on the jersey because it has a story, like every athlete's number does. The story can be as simple as it was picked for me and grew on me, or it could be your role model wore that number, so you chose it too. Another story could be that a family member wore it so you carried on the tradition. Whatever the story was, it's your turn to add your story to the jersey.

Be legendary. The truth is sometimes when someone thinks about that jersey you're wearing they'll think of the people that wore it before you. They think of the way the ones before you played, but that's all going to change. You are going to be added to the legacy and tradition. It's time for you to make your own legacy and name for yourself. It's about making people think that whoever wears the number next will be as great as the one before. Play to the best of your ability and work hard every day to be better than the next girl. Play with heart, be humble, and don't disrespect the tradition, team, or organization you are a part of.

Finally, play for someone other than yourself. Play for the name on the front of your jersey more than the one on the back. Play for everyone who got you to the point you are at now. Play for the ones who don't have the opportunity to play the game you love. Play for the little girl who watches you. Play for all the ones who wore the jersey before you.

Above all else, be your own player, create a name for yourself, and be humble.


Cover Image Credit: Caroline Showalter

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To The Marching Band That Changed My Life

Because hearing "one more time" for the last time can be oh so bittersweet.

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To the Zebra Marching Band,

Thank You.

Words cannot describe how much you have done for me throughout these past four years. Little did I know that upon walking through the band room's intimidating doors my freshman year, I had unknowingly found my second home. On the outside it may have appeared to simply be kids with instruments on a field, however, it was so much more.

Thank you for teaching me how to have an immense amount of school spirit despite not knowing a single thing about football. From playing our school's fight song by heart, to feeling an electric energy each time the stadium lights lit up on Friday nights, you allowed me to experience a sense of joy unlike no other.

You taught me that there definitely is no "i" in "team," even if it may have taken me a while to understand that. I was able to learn that I didn't always need to be self-sufficient, that in order for me to succeed, I needed to listen and work together with those around me. I soon realized that we each played an important role on that field and even if just one of us was out of place, we would all be affected. Once we put on those uniforms, we weren't simply ourselves anymore, rather we came together regardless of backgrounds or differences, and became one. Under that shako, no one knew who we were, because that 10 minute show wasn't about any one individual, it was about the band.

I thank you for showing me that a family doesn't necessarily mean you're related by blood, that a family can be as small as the people within your section, or as big as the entire band. Without marching band, I would have never met some of my best friends. You brought some of the most amazing people into my life that I've had the opportunity to form long-lasting bonds with. Although I may have not known it at the time, but after years of complaining about the weather either being too hot or too cold at rehearsal, making up dances to the drum-line's cadences, helping each other memorize music and sets, or saying the phrase, "It's not a show if you don't have to go" to each other, these once-strangers around me had become a part of my roots. Thank you for placing people in my life that would help push me when I didn't want to do another run-through or scream the loudest with me when it came to school chants.

You taught me the virtue of patience, because after hearing the director say "one last time" for the 5th time in a row, I DEFINITELY needed it.

Turns out those hour-long bus rides actually feel like ten minutes when you're sitting by the the right people (aka: the back of the bus.) You gave me a chance to experience those irreplaceable laughs, inside jokes, and memories made at marching contests that I would look back on in a few years and say "Man, I miss this." I never did think I would ever get so excited over spending my Saturdays watching other bands perform while competing for a trophy of our own.

Thank you for both the significant and insignificant details. For the everyday normality of walking into the band room and being greeted by a hundred kids in a frenzy, to the medley of saxophones and tubas and other practicing instruments that would eventually become the background noise to my life. Or from having the opportunity to march in front of 20,000 people at the Magic Kingdom Parade at Disney World, to leaving a legacy by being the first band in my school's history to not only pass on to finals, but place eighth at our state marching contest.

In the end, you transformed me into a girl who adores the clarinet and is passionate about both music and marching. So much so that next year I'll be at Boone Pickens Stadium, making my dreams a reality by marching with a college band.

Just know I could have never done it without you, because when it's all said and done, I wouldn't trade getting to be a part of the Zebra Marching Band for the world.

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