As I sit down to write this letter, sleep is calling and a monster is sitting just before me. Earlier this morning, I was forced awake by my mother only to be dropped off at school for graduation practise. We got out designated number and section, and were seated on to the floor of the auxiliary gym- the entire senior class of 2017 in one room.

As I sat there waiting for the next few rows to be called, I took in each and every face on that floor, both familiar and unfamiliar. It had become real.

This past week, I graduated alongside the Manchester High senior class. I graduated with my Manchester High Family.

To Manchester High School. Four years ago, if you were to tell me I would cry four times in two weeks over the friends I had met, I would not believe it. My much hated middle school experience would be too fresh to believe something like that. My friends were all going to different schools, and a girl like me does not make friends so easily. I would look at you with skepticism, and I would deny it despite not knowing for certain.

If you were to tell me that my teachers would become some of the most inspiring and helpful people in my life without exaggeration, I would laugh. “They’ll be nice, surely,” I would say, “but not nearly as great as you make them sound.” And if you were to tell me that by the end of freshmen year, I would have my career path laid out with certainty, and invest any opportunity I have to broaden that experience, I would count on both hands all of the careers I was “set” on, and not one has stuck.

To Manchester High School, the school of cliches. The school in which broadened my horizons, or planted the seed to my future goals and hopes; the school of self discovery.

Because of you, Manchester High, I have found friends that I did not have. I have loved some, and lost some. I have had my encounters with bullying from the sidelines, but I know my family is there. I have made my home in the Mass Comm wing, a “forever home” as Ms. Kate Hoof had said, and it truly is. The friends who I had in freshmen year may not be as close knit now, and those who I did not speak to until this year may not see me as anything other than an acquaintance, but we truly are one family. Through borrowed mics, and misplaced B-roll, tensions ran high but we all were there with an extra battery when we were drained too low. We all had our niche that we offered, and even when I dreaded waking up to come the next day, I looked forward to our experiences, inside jokes, and comments.

From having few friends, to zero, to being surrounded by an entire class of personality and color, I will always be grateful for each and every one of you. To Manchester High School, I thank you for accepting me into the program, and giving me the chance to meet thirty best members of a family I never knew was possible.

To Manchester High School, I thank you for the amazing faculty. I thank you for the kindness of nearly every teacher I have had to interview, and the patience they had in freshmen year. I thank Mrs. Ellis for being so patient in giving us the inside scoop and allowing us her time, I thank the senior sponsors for giving us an amazing finish, and I thank the counselors for helping to guide us. To my teachers, who have showed me skills and helped me travel the path I would like to go forth in.

To Ms. Hoof, who first introduced me into the world of Mass Communications, and was the start of my journey through journalism and has been there from freshmen year, and continued to encourage me despite my frustrations with technology.

To Ms. Geranios, who was the launching pad for my career. Had it not been for her, I would never notice my full potential. She pushed for more, encouraged more, and thus gave me the confidence I needed to take pride in my work. Four years of writing under her advisory, my skillset has grown stronger, and I will carry each lesson near and dear to my heart for years to come.

And to Mr. Pioch, who, although I was not willing to take the class at first, was the teacher I needed to help boost my public confidence. Public speaking was never a favorite of mine, but after a year of doing nothing but speaking in front of a class who truly did not care what i had to say, I now know how to carry it gracefully without a fit of nerves winning.

To Manchester High School, who made me regret not doing more instead of wishing I had done less. To Manchester High School where the halls are filled with color and the personalities vibrant.

To Manchester High School, who I will always look back on fondly, miss dearly, and thank for the growth it has brought me. Never has a high school atmosphere felt so at home before, but after four years, it’s time to leave the nest. Thank you.