Column: Dear seniors


Photo credit: Ultimate Exposures

Official senior class photo of the class of 2020 taken on the first day of school this year. The class has taken identical photos for their past seven years at Archer and was supposed to take a final photo in this exact spot on their graduation day.

By Grace Wilson, Columnist

Dear Seniors,

Like many of you, I’ve spent the better part of high school fantasizing about the second semester of senior year. And as if my own personal expectations of alleviated stress and culminating traditions haven’t been enough, the ravishing rumors and retellings I’ve heard from senior year veterans have also made me ultra excited to reach this era of teenagehood.

But last month, when Ms. English announced that Archer will remain closed for the rest of the year, I realized I will never live out this semester as I had always dreamed.

I will never attend weekend beach ragers or make posters for spring sport senior nights, and my classmates and I will never get the chance to assemble the beloved Archer maypole. My buds and I won’t be taking a drive down to Indio, and my grade won’t pose proudly for a group photo in our college merch, nor will we watch as juniors study feverishly for finals week, knowing we’d been there and done that.

I am now faced with the inevitable but seemingly impossible task of saying goodbye to Archer. Although I knew goodbye was coming, I didn’t know it would be so soon, and for that reason, I’ve had a particularly rough time making sense of these past six crazy years.

In this process of appreciating, bidding adieu to and reflecting on my time at Archer, I’ve found that my mind keeps bouncing back to my very first days here. So perhaps the best way for me to begin this goodbye process is by starting from the very beginning (as Maria from “The Sound of Music” once said, it is a very good place to start!).

Believe it or not, seniors — and this might come as a surprise considering how I now strut the Archer halls with a bit too much swagger and enthusiasm — I had a difficult time acclimating to Archer when I first came in the seventh grade. Let’s just say that I had daily temper tantrums and jammed out with angst to Green Day on my bus rides to and from school for at least my first year and a half attending Archer.

Every now and then, memories of these awkward and ungainly adolescent years rush back to me. One that seems to always revisit me, despite my unending efforts to shove it into the deepest pockets of my subconscious, is being in Ms. Burns’ seventh grade musical theatre class. In addition to clumsily managing a routine of jazz hands and box steps, I spent this daily class period gazing out of the window at the back field, wanting so desperately to just leave the classroom, to leave Archer.

But as my time at Archer moved along, the emotions I felt in Ms. Burns’ classroom dissipated. Somewhere between writing an excruciating in-class essay on the theme of courage in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and passing around a Smokey Bear plushy during councils in Ms. Ryan’s class, I fell in love with Archer. And even though my classmates continued to complain about little things, like the length of upper school meetings and the ever-changing — but always unbearable — smell of the library, I knew they were falling in love with Archer too.

So I don’t think I am alone when I say that I will miss Archer. I will miss the way everyone gravitates toward the courtyard right before the late bus leaves, I will miss the pre-Spirit Week dance drama, I will miss how quickly word spreads about a teacher being pregnant (and how often this happens). But most of all, I will miss all of you.

I love you all dearly. Thank you for taking me from khaki skirts to scratchy grey blazers, from biting nails to writing 10-page papers, from Crayola to confidence.

I’m devastated we don’t have these final moments of high school to spend together and that the long-awaited second semester of our senior year is being cut short. Apparently, six years of messing up and messing around wasn’t enough. But, as much as you don’t want to hear it, you ain’t getting rid of me. You’re my family, my absolute lovebugs, and I won’t be leaving you behind in high school. I’ll drag you along with me as long as possible, as long as our memories remain and the lessons we’ve learned last in my mind.