The student news source of Iowa City West High

A well-deserved participation trophy

This will sound original, but it doesn’t feel right to be graduating high school. I think that has something to do with going on spring break for a year and a half. I, and a substantial amount of other students, left West High in March 2020 and didn’t cognitively or emotionally return until the first day of school this year. 

Thankfully, I was cognizant enough during my junior year to pass my classes, so I will be getting my diploma later this month. However, due to “extenuating circumstances”, graduating is going to represent a lot more than the end of high school. 

I’ve always kept my grades up, but never stressed about them particularly much. My diploma may symbolize the work that’s gone into those A’s and B’s, but a couple of letters have not been what’s made high school challenging. 

Over the past four years, we’ve all learned profoundly hard lessons. What would’ve already been some of the most dramatic and awkward years of our lives had the unfortunate courtesy of taking place during a globally devastating pandemic. We all came in with dreams and expectations of what high school would be like, only for none of them to come true. Almost every person I know went through one of the darkest periods of their lives, and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t broken down crying at least once in the last couple of years. In my opinion, we all deserve an award just for making it this far. 

When I walk across the graduation stage, it won’t feel like I’m being handed a document to represent my academic achievements. Instead, it’ll be my participation trophy, just for making it through this whole mess.

I’m sure the speakers will say something great at graduation, but with my final moment on the mini-soapbox of, I’d like to say some generic thank you’s.

Thank you to everyone who’s stayed and helped play a part in the community that got me through high school. Thank you to my teachers for doing the best they could. Lastly, thank you to all people who personally helped me stop being so lame and enjoy life. Every last one of you deserves an award. 

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