Dear Tualatin High School,
When I look back on the last four years, I realize I have only spent the last four weeks appreciating you.
My freshman year was spent wishing I could go back to Hazelbrook Middle School, where life was simpler, and Language Arts class meant four sentences were a paragraph, and three of those were an essay.
Two-thirds of sophomore year was spent warming up to the idea of high school, but only because I realized I had to be here for a while. I have little recollection of March through June of sophomore year, likely because I blocked those traumatic memories from ever seeing the light of day.
Junior year I spent thanking all things holy that we remained online. I could skate by another year of just seeing my five closest friends and my cross country team without fear of any unpredictable social interactions.
Then came senior year. I cried the night before, feeling excited for my turn at the top of the food chain but dreading The Year of the Unexpected my unconventional high school career had not prepared me for. I will never forget my first day of senior year — pulling into my now-beloved parking space (43) and walking into Mr. Malone’s classroom for my first day of IB TOK in person. Your halls felt big and cold and unwelcoming. I remember looking around at the tops of my classmates’ faces and feeling like we were in for the longest school year of our lives.
I am pleased to say that I was wrong. I blinked, and the moment the first bell rang back in September morphed into here and now. I had the hardest year of my life, but you were there to catch me with your endlessly compassionate teachers and your almost empty — there was always that one kid — stairwells to catch some peace and quiet. Your halls are no longer big and cold and unwelcoming.
While I will probably long for my lost year and a half of high school forever, I’m grateful for the two and a half I did spend within the comfort of your sturdy brick walls, crammed into your too-small desks.
With love and so much gratitude,