"Don't you get tired of not being with boys all day?" As I came home from school one day, I spoke on the phone with one of my good friends that attended the traditional, co-ed high school. It seemed as though every time I spoke with a friend that didn't go to a gender based high school, they put it down and thought it was super weird that a ton of girls would willingly choose to go to a school where it was all girls, all the time. I began to become increasingly defensive and even angry as these questioned seem to pelt me in every which direction, but soon, I realized that my friends didn't understand, nor could they ever because going to my all girl Catholic high school was an experience of a lifetime, and so unlike any school in the entire world.

It is true when they say that letting go is hard, so hard in fact, that sometimes we are bitter or hesitant about doing it. Just this year, I graduated from my all girls high school, and it was not until I walked out of the church on my graduation night, that I realized what I was leaving behind in the hands of the school I loved so much, and to the memories that would forever be imprinted on my heart. I would miss it, so dearly in fact, that in that moment I didn't want to say goodbye. Instead, I wanted to run up the million flights of stairs, back to my locker, and relive it again just one more day, but I couldn't. So, as I venture out into the world, and back to the next part of my life I think it is only appropriate that I say a few thank you's to the school that gave me so much.

1. Thank you for showing me that life is never so serious as we always seem to make it

In the eyes of a midterm, an impossible chemistry problem, or a challenging teacher, you taught me to take any challenge head on, and do the best I could, and laugh while doing it. Not only was learning enjoyable and meaningful- it worked. It was easy to get caught up in everyday life, and dwell on a bad grade or a relationship that didn't work out, but wherever I went, I couldn't walk down any hall, or into any classroom and not receive a smile, a hug, or even a joke to change my entire day around. My school was ALWAYS there for me.

2. Thank you for teaching me that no dream is to out of reach

Between the teachers, best friends, coaches, or guidance counselors, a support system was only a reach out away. There were times I felt giving up was the only way out of a situation, but it was you that taught me otherwise. I felt supported, loved, empowered, and important every single day I stepped foot into the arcade on the way into school because you cared, and you always did. In the eyes of defeat, sadness, failure or just generally bad days, you stood firm an strong, and reminded me that I could keep going. I held onto you, with all of my strength, and learned that even when I feel like falling, I can stand tall. As I go onto nursing school, and aspire to give back the kindness that I was taught in high school, I have no fears and am fully confident that as a young woman of God, I can do anything; not even the sky is the limit.

3. Thank you for showing me how to have fun

Between Paws for Pride (our school spirit day), freshman welcome, senior parade, the endless lunch laughter, or even a sporting event- I had the time of my life with you. You showed me that laughter is necessary to make it through life, and that friends, or better yet sisters, like the ones I found here will remain with me for the rest of my life. Between the jaguar rumble (even at the end of mass one time), the itchy formal uniforms (even on 90 degree days), and Paws for Pride games, the entire school was united as one; having fun, laughing, and loving every minute of being a Jaguar.

4. Thank you for being so beautiful

Between the brick architecture of the massive building; the windows that overlook the Mother House and the Valley (the bluff lol); and the campus filled with flowers, picnic tables, and some of the prettiest gals one ever did see- you are breath taking! I will miss eating lunch on the Scholar's porch and feeling the spring air waft into the room while I finish a math problem on the board. The campus, so beautiful and so unforgettable, is picturesque- truly a creation of God himself.

So thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, to the school that made me who I am today. Thank you for pushing me, inspiring me, and teaching me to be myself. I firmly believe that is more valuable than any degree, grade, or treasure in the world.

Sursum Corda.