Going to a private high school was always a priority for me and my family. I always knew where I would end up after grade school and once I graduated, I couldn't wait to begin my new journey as a freshman. When I started at Mother of Mercy High School, I knew this was exactly where I belonged. I was unsure about the whole "only girls" thing since I had been surrounded by both boys and girls in school for the past 8 years. I knew that it would be quite the transition but I couldn't wait to embark on the new experiences that this new school held for me.
Going to school every day and seeing the same familiar faces became so easy for me to get used to. My high school soon became a second home for me during the 4 short years I was a student there. I wish I could say, "I can't wait for my daughters to have the same experience I did" but, unfortunately, my high school will be closing forever at the end of this school year.
Hearing this news was absolutely devastating and everyone else who went there can attest to this feeling. Although there are many other great private schools in the area, the experience would certainly not be the same as what I had.
I grew up a lot during those 4 years and I am proud of who my high school shaped me into. High school threw me some curveballs but I wouldn't have made it out alive without the wonderful companions who never left my side.
My peers helped teach me that it wasn't all about looks. This is very true. I could wake up, put on my plaid kilt and navy blue polo, brush my teeth, grab a granola bar, and be on my way. I didn't have anybody to impress based on my looks. I could walk into school every day with my hair in a messy bun and my face bare and natural and still feel confident. My high school helped me become a strong, confident woman who could achieve great things even without trying (in the slightest bit) on my physical appearance.
School spirit was so prevalent at my school and without it, everything would have been different. There was nothing more exciting than when our sports team would play against our biggest rivals and the whole school would crunch together in the corner of our gym, dressed in whatever the wacky theme was, and cheer our hearts out for our girls out there on the court/field/etc.
As a student athlete, I can confidently say that having a large student section appearance at the sporting events truly made a difference. Knowing that the whole school believes in your success and that they're willing to give up their time to watch you achieve it was an amazing feeling.
I was never afraid to start a new semester. No matter if I knew who was taking the same classes as me or not, I knew that I would have friends in every class I walked into. Going to a school with roughly 500 girls made it easy to make new friendships wherever you went. No matter the age difference. I have strong memories from one of my classes freshman year of me and my friends in my grade hanging out and bonding with girls who were seniors. Not every high school can say that they experienced this.
My school showed me what it's like to not be judged for being who you are. Normally, I would be terrified to stand up in front of a class and give a presentation in front of girls who were older than I was, but Mercy changed my mind about this. I never felt judged or criticized. Everyone was always so welcoming from my first day up until my very last.
There's a lot of people who graduate from high school and never look back. I am not one of those people. Sure, I had some friendship issues along the way and I didn't fall in love with every class I took; but if given a chance to go back, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Especially knowing what I know now about the future of my high school, or lack thereof.
I want to end this article by saying thank you to everyone who made my high school experience exactly what it was. I would not have it any other way. Each and every one of you impacted me whether you knew it at the time or not. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you guys and I hope you are achieving everything you hoped you would and much, much more. Everyone who graduated from Mother of Mercy High School has so much potential to be successful, and I hope you all recognize that within yourself as well as within the other graduates. You all will always have a special place in my heart and we will get through this transition together.
Once a bobcat, always a bobcat. Finish strong.