12th grade: Roller coaster

This was it. Senior year was what we had been waiting for, when everything was supposed to come together. The first stretch was an uphill battle: grades still mattered, college applications were stacking up in front of us and all of a sudden we felt the crushing prospect of figuring out the next step in our journey the higher and higher we climbed. We wrote our application essays, took any final standardized tests, tried to keep our grades up we started to socialize with more urgency. Together we mourned the loss of one of our brightest stars after Brendan Kutler died suddenly in his sleep during winter break. It seemed like every time we went to a sporting event we would end up rushing the field—after the varsity football team’s Homecoming game and the basketball team’s evisceration of Loyola to name two. And as soon as we walked out of our final midterm, we knew we had reached the top and the climb was over. Ahead of us lay the exhilarating prospect of college, behind us all the good times we had shared, and around us were the amazing people with whom we had the pleasure of climbing. All that was left was the glorious descent. Some of our grades dropped precipitously, but it’s OK—any time spent not studying meant we were spending time with each other while we still had a chance. Our time spent at Harvard-Westlake all came to the glorious spring climaxes of Coachella and Prom, where most any persisting social boundaries fell in favor of a shared good time. We laughed together as Chase Morgan and Megan Hilliard strolled into Prom donning a dress and a tuxedo, respectively. Sometimes we took the merry-making too far, like when a prank that involved hiding the backpacks of juniors and seniors led to the breaking of a laptop and camera. But then, just as we were getting used to being seniors, we abruptly found ourselves at the end of the year. Most of us have very few classes now that APs are done; graduation and the great unknown looms ahead. Until then, though, we’ll just adjust our senior rings and regret the fact that we can’t get back in line for one more ride.

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