An Open Letter To My Alma Mater

An Open Letter To My Alma Mater

My high school is disappearing, but its memories have never been more present.

Jacqueline Napier

Dear Alma Mater,

When I arrived in your doors Freshman year I knew that you were only a temporary home, but I thought you would be one that I could come back and visit time after time post-graduation. Your walls already held a very special place in my heart as my Pop Pop graduated from the same hallways that I would be walking through for the next four years. He would tell me stories of cutting class in the cars of the time and his friends' crazy antics that surprisingly didn't leave the school a pile of crumbled cement. Although you stood strong and sturdy for three generations, the announcement of your demolition still came as a shock to myself and the rest of the community. Our small town remained stagnant for years. Nothing changed in our city-suburb and with that came a sense of comfort, so of course, when this announcement of destruction and rebuilding came into question, there was disarray. What was to become of you?

I can't say the community didn't put up a fight. Crowds gathered at city hall, fighting against your removal and surrounding neighborhoods protested. Everyone did all they could to keep you from being destroyed but in the end, we had to face the reality that you were disappearing. The hardest part about this wasn't that we were losing such a huge part of our community or even that a new school was going to replace you, it was that we would have to witness smaller parts of you disappear bit by bit. The night before the football field was uprooted was a night of reflection. As I walked around the blue track, I thought of everything that happened on this field. Our school won so many football games on this field. I performed on this field for the marching band. I graduated on this field. I have to admit, this was the night it finally hit me that a huge change was underway that no one could control.

I wish there was more I could do, but when looking at the tarp-covered fences that conceal the building that will replace you, I know that there's nothing more to do than accept the change. Just because you will be disappearing, does not mean that memories that were made in your walls are going to leave. I will remember my favorite librarian that knew everyone's names and spread endless kindness to all students, performing in the school musicals with some of my best friends, ordering pizzas when rehearsals ran late, eating lunch in the cafeteria, and every other little moment in between. Through the process of knowing you and losing you, I am able to appreciate these memories even more. You will always be remembered as a special part of our community and the lessons taught in your walls are ingrained in those of us who walked your halls.

Sincerely, Me

Hearts proudly loyal in song here unite,
To spread abroad the fame of thy great power and might.
So may thy sons be faithful to thy dear memory.
Hail, our alma mater. We e'er will sing of thee.
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