Don’t make me leave!

Danielle Spitz

I’ve never been good at writing about myself. Personal writing has always felt so trivial when I know there are so many more compelling and important stories to be told. But as I’m sitting down to write my very last piece for the Chronicle, I couldn’t be more excited to pour my heart out. Throughout my time at Harvard-Westlake, I’ve developed my own voice and the confidence to share that voice with conviction. When thinking about what guided me to this kind of personal growth, I couldn’t possibly pick one singular explanation. So I dedicate this column to all of the different people, activities and other factors from the past six years that have shaped me into the person I am today.

My friends: First and foremost, I want to thank my friends for making the past four years the best of my life. With their unconditional love and support, they all showed me that I shouldn’t ever have to be anything but my true self. Their generosity and kindness inspired me on a daily basis to be the best version of myself that I could possibly be, and through all the laughs and tears, they proved to me time and time again that they always had my back.

My teachers: Class to me was never just about memorizing facts and regurgitating them on a test, and that’s because my teachers taught me the value of learning. Their passion and desire to see their students succeed motivated me to pour myself into my work like they committed themselves to theirs. They saw me as an individual with my own potential and my own abilities, not just another kid to define by a letter grade, and I am forever grateful for the time and energy they dedicated to helping me thrive.

The curriculum: It’s no coincidence that the word ‘rigorous’ is the most commonly-used adjective to describe the Harvard-Westlake curriculum. Simply put, my classes were really difficult. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The curriculum pushed me when I didn’t think I could be pushed any further, and while it undoubtedly caused me hours of stress and robbed me of much-needed sleep, I know for certain that I am stronger because of it.

My parents: Without them, none of this would be possible. I am lucky enough to have parents who gave me the opportunity to attend a place like Harvard-Westlake and the support I needed to get through it. They were proud of me as long as I was trying my best—even when I thought my best wasn’t good enough.

The Chronicle: I found a home inside the walls of Weiler. It’s where I discovered my passion, it’s where I made some of my most meaningful friendships and it’s where I learned the most about who I am and who I want to become. Working on the Chronicle gave me a sense of purpose, knowing that I was contributing to something that was much bigger than myself. My experience on staff was the most demanding, rewarding and by far the most memorable one of my high school career.

Looking back on all of my hard work that got me to where I am today, it’s easy to think of high school as just a pathway to college and everything that might follow. But for all the reasons that I listed above, it is so much more. Harvard-Westlake will always hold a special place in my heart. I would do it all over again if I could.