Column: My final farewell

The+class+of+2022+stands+in+front+of+their+grade+door+during+Color+Wars.+The+hardest+goodbye+I+will+ever+have+to+say+is+to+those+I+call+my+family.+The+past+four+years+have+been+nothing+short+of+a+roller+coaster%2C+and+I+could+not+imagine+my+life+without+each+and+every+person+in+my+grade.

Photo credit: Kathleen Bergen

The class of 2022 stands in front of their grade door during Color Wars. The hardest goodbye I will ever have to say is to those I call my family. The past four years have been nothing short of a roller coaster, and I could not imagine my life without each and every person in my grade.

By Marissa Gendy, Columnist

My grade has had quite the year. 

To my parents, thank you. I’d like to say I got my grace from my mother and my willingness to love from my father, but that would undermine the grace my mother possesses and my father’s unfailing love. Parents, guardians and loved ones have put up with explosive emotions and growth. They have loved us for as long as they have known us, and have dealt with long car rides to tournaments and shows. They have put together the pieces of our hearts, keeping it safe from the outside world. For that I thank them. Thank you for holding our hearts and occasionally our hands. 

To my teachers, thank you. Throughout my four years at Archer, I have never once encountered a teacher whom I did not like. I was never afraid to ask for help or be honest with them. Never once was I left alone to navigate Archer, deal with friendship troubles or grow up. I had my teachers.

I felt confident to walk into Ms. Bergen’s classroom and tell her the first thing that came to my head in the morning or about the worries that keep me up at night. I could walk past Ms. Niles and without a word she would know if I needed a hug. I could walk into Mr. Bartha’s room and about tell him about my sport adventures. I could count on Ms. Finney and Ms. Gold to be at as many home softball games as possible. I knew after all the times Ms. Santana said she believed in me that she was going to be the first person I would tell what college I was going to. I could count on Mr. Russo to tell us funny stories, specifically ones that involved potty training his youngest son. 

I have relied on my teachers for as long as I have been at Archer. They support, care and allow you to be who you are. They learn alongside you and let you flourish. They give you A’s and sometimes C’s, it’s all with the intention of seeing you succeed. For that I thank them. Thank you for being the soil, the water and the sun that helped me, a little seed, grow in an infertile world. 

Now for the hardest thank you: my classmates, friends, occasional enemies and ’22 crew. The people I would consider family. There are no words, quotes, poems or songs that’ll ever explain this feeling. They were my rock, the steady in the storm, the light in the darkness and the amazing in the terrible. Everything my parents had hoped for.

High school was tough. While it wasn’t my favorite experience, it was one that taught me the value of good, honest people. The kind you should surround yourself with. My classmates are these people. They taught me your mind can be your best asset but your heart can be your greatest friend. They are lit candles willing to share their light. They are the illuminated pathway in a falling plane, a liferaft in a sinking ship.

This class has taught me responsibility, restraint, freedom and authenticity. They showed me that creativity can be found by taking a second look, and inspiration can be sought from anything. Friendship can last a lifetime. While our high school chapter is coming to an end, I like to think our stories have just begun. The 7 a.m. bus rides will no longer exist, and the anticipated maypole setup will be a thing of the past. Our farewell hugs at the beginning of every break will be a fond memory when we hug our future friends goodbye.

Archer was the place where my soul danced. I heard this quote some time ago from “Bridgerton.” It reads, “True love is something else entirely. It is when the rest of the world goes quiet. It is not eyes that meet but souls that dance.” The people I met became a part of my heart. They were the wonder that made my brain run in circles, the excitement that made my heart pump and the passion that woke me up every morning. I take a look at classmates and though I can’t name all of their favorite colors or animals, I know them by their heart. For me, that’s worth more. How lucky am I that I have something that makes goodbyes so hard?