Dear Seventh Grade Saba,
Today is my last day of high school. While I drive down Coldwater Canyon for what will be one of the last times ever, dodging the familiar potholes and sliding instinctively with each sharp turn, I feel in control.
On your first day of Harvard-Westlake, you approached the bus sporting your new Harvard-Westlake shirt and a pair of red shorts.
Several hours later, you chatted with new classmates as you took your seats on the scalding hot bleachers on Ted Slavin Field.
As the sun continued to climb higher in the sky, you looked around. To your left, intimidating seniors laughed and tossed beach balls into the air as their teachers looked on with smiles.
To your right, hundreds of expectant faces turned to the stage assembled below. A microphone crackled.
“Welcome to Harvard-Westlake’s very first all-school convocation…”
The ink isn’t dry yet. As we scribble onto the yearbook pages, we inadvertently smudge each other’s messages. “Dear – I’m going to miss you so – I hope you have a great – I can’t imagine high school without you.”
I flip through the yearbook, smiling as I look at this year’s memories. Holiday celebrations, school speakers and club events gleam from their respective photo collages. My hand stops.
You rushed from class to class. In the sweltering August heat, you found solace in the maze of the air-conditioned hallways and rooms. While you took your various seats throughout the day, there was one comforting constant: wherever you found yourself, without fail, there was a member of the community trying to make you feel welcome.
Row after row of lopsided grins and shining eyes crowd the spread. I flip through the pages slower now. I see my best friends and my favorite teachers. I glance at the first peers I met at Harvard-Westlake.
After six years at Harvard-Westlake, I have changed and grown. I know you should always check for extraneous solutions, that it’s important to roll your Rs in Spanish and that historic figures are more complex than they seem. I have traveled back in time with the aid of my textbooks and ventured to foreign countries through my teachers’ lectures. I know the thrill of looking through a microscope and of finishing a painting.
And while I believe all of these experiences have shaped my life and helped make me the person that I am today, what I will miss as much as – if not more – than all of these memories are the people I shared them with.
Jessie taught me to take pride in my work and to always have a good attitude. Jackson showed me how a smile can make someone feel welcome and safe. Ms. Darling and Ms. Lawler renewed my library books without question, and Ms. Kennedy was always ready to help me plan an event. I will miss Freddie’s sandwiches and how Lucy always knows my salad order by heart. No bookstore will be the same without Allie’s upbeat singing. Every campus needs a Ms. Bracken and Mr. Church power duo.
So what is the last piece of wisdom I will impart on you, Saba?
There are some things I can’t teach you. Some things you have to learn from others.
Twelfth Grade Saba