Guest Editorial

Message from the Camden Hills Valedictorian

By Braden Fisher | Jun 14, 2018

Here we are. The Camden Hills Regional High School Class of 2018. It seemed like this day would never come. The word “ Senior ” always seemed to be used to refer to someone we would never be - not too long ago we all couldn’t wait to be seniors and be trusted as young adults to leave campus when we did not have classes, but it seemed like it would never happen. Now suddenly we’re here, and it feels like it never happened. It went by so fast that it felt like we were never seniors.

My baseball coach, Coach Mac, who I know many of the graduates know and I’m sure many family members do as well, told us on many occasions something that his father told him.

He said, “One day you will look in the mirror and there will be an old man looking back at you, and all you’ll have is the memories you made along the way.” As we all look in the mirror now, the person looking back at us is getting older and older. But boy does this class have some memories that we certainly made along the way.

It’s freshman year. Actually the first day of freshman year. The entire class is sitting in the Strom, listening to Dr. I tell us how fast these four years are going to go by. He tells us to blink, then says that the four years are going to feel like they only lasted for that blink. Nobody believes him. A month later, everybody starts staying up late to work on Mr. Gray’s or Ms. Dailey’s or Mr. Wallace’s Atlas Project, and we begin to ask how we are going to get through four years of this. We struggle through our first set of midterm exams and badly lose spirit week, but we stay strong and head toward the finish line. Before we know it, we are thanking and saying goodbye to Mrs. Dailey as she prepares for retirement, and we ourselves are preparing for final exams and wrapping up our first year here.

Suddenly it’s sophomore year. We know our way through the halls, we’ve started to learn the ropes, and finally there are people younger than us here. The stress of school is not as bad as it was last year because we’re more comfortable here. We’ve started to make more bonds, both within the class and with teachers and other faculty. From putting up pictures of Steve from Blue’s Clues all over Mr. Feeney’s room to electing Robbie Carroll with his flamboyant character to be our class president next year, we are showing that we are developing a personality as a class, whether we show the most school spirit during spirit week or not. Some of us are turning 16, getting our driver’s licenses, and beginning to enjoy the freedom of driving ourselves to school. We’re still eager to be upperclassmen, though, and enjoy the other freedoms that they have. This year, we are saying goodbye to Dr. I, the very person who told us that we would be leaving before we know it. Like us now, he is moving on to different adventures.

As we move into junior year, everybody tells us it’s going to be a big year. We have to take the SAT and start thinking about our plans after high school, we have to show that we are responsible enough to be trusted with the privileges of late arrival and early release, we have to put on the prom at the end of the year, and we have to plan for the Washington trip for next summer, all while trying to keep up with our school work. We are welcoming the new principal, Mr. Sampson, and helping him as he becomes accustomed to the new school. It is strange to think that we are now the ones helping other people get to know the building and the school. In terms of the members of the class itself, people are beginning to use their experience here and express it through their own personal passions. Megan Gordon’s drawings, Emma Hallundbaek’s and Sophia Buckley-Clement’s singing, Jack Poutasse’s and Marco D’Amato’s photographs, and Jack Nathan’s Rubik's cube solving and physics philosophies are just a few examples of the many talents and interests in this class that continue to be developed. Again, at the end of this year, we have to say goodbye to some people who helped many of us pursue these interests. This time, we are saying goodbye to Mr. Mckenzie after an incredible career of teaching, and we are also saying goodbye to Mr. Sampson and thanking him for helping us get through our big year.

Now we are finally seniors. The Washington Trip is behind us, and what we hoped would unify the different groups within the class perhaps only separated them more. As we move through the year, though, we grow closer and closer, working toward this night. We finally are trusted as young adults to leave campus when we do not have classes and return when we do - a privilege that we have waited for for some time. We are even given this privilege earlier than any other class has ever had it, and we are expected to maintain this privilege for ourselves. It may seem like an insignificant reward, but it drives our class to come together and live up to the expectations that are placed on us. The class begins to unify as we get closer and closer to our ultimate shared goal, which is being here tonight. The puzzle pieces gradually come together, and now they are complete.

I speak about these four years in the present tense because they all feel as though they happen together in one period of time and still have not ended. Soon enough, these four years will become a part of the past and will be talked about as memories in the past tense. For now, though, as we are on the other side of that blink that began freshman year, let’s take a final moment to enjoy and reflect on these four years together as they are still happening. Let’s ensure that while we are still together, we have the memories that we made, and are making, along the way, because our time left together is short. I’m sure many of the graduates behind me are ready to move on from these memories, as they are in the past and we should be looking to the future. I would say, though, that memories are just as important to the future as to the past. Happy memories will make us feel better in times of sadness, and sad memories will help us remember how we overcame tough times and learned from our mistakes.

I mentioned all of the people to whom we have said goodbye at the end of each year, as they have moved on to different adventures while we have stayed here. Now, we are saying goodbye to all of the students, teachers, administrators, and other staff who will be staying here while we move on to our different adventures. So, as we go off on our own, whether it be college, or work, or the armed forces, or other endeavors, we would like to collectively thank everybody in this audience for allowing us to get here. You will forever be a part of the memories that we have made along the way. I know it’s cliche to say thank you in this way, but it needs to be done. Finally, to the class of 2018, I hope we can keep in mind these memories, and I hope that we will be able to share more memories when we are together in the future.


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