To the Class of 2017

To+the+Class+of+2017

Susanna Marshall, Editor

Graduation Day. How do I even begin to summarize the past 13 years of my life? How do I even grasp the fact that by this time tomorrow, I will no longer be a student in the Radford City School system. Next fall, I will not be returning to the musty brown halls that hold so many of my memories and friendships. My knowledge of which water fountains will give me the coldest water, the shortcuts and scenic routes to class, which doors are locked and which doors are open, all will fade away because I no longer need it.

What won’t fade away, however, is the roaring sound of the student section when DJ makes another great play. I won’t forget the daily after lunch naps, all thanks to Mr. Swope and his theraputic voice. My habitual altercations with Ms. Tapp about the school newspaper surprisingly hold a special place in my heart. I especially won’t forget the special way that thirty minutes in a loud, greasy Bobcat Bistro with your friends can really brighten the worst days.

I can’t even begin to list the countless memories I have made with the special people in this town. Like the snow days of walking to eachothers houses in our marshmallow outfits, or the all nighters of delirious laughing under the ping pong table. By the way, it is possible for two idiots like myself and Connor Herndon to bust their way into the upstairs window of a two story house using nothing but a cheap pair of  scissors and a kitchen fork. Although from experience, I would suggest checking the front door first.

There’s the hectic days in Chemistry class when someone managed to mislocate the majority of the back sink. If I had a dollar for everytime Mrs. Chan said “Who did dis?!” or “Timossy!” I wouldn’t even need to go to college. Or the time Jake tried to haul everyone up Liam’s hill in the bed of his truck and the tire popped. You’d be surprised how long it takes for 20+ teenagers to change a tire. Then of course there are bittersweet memories of holding onto your bestfriend in the parking lot of Waffle House, when it feels like the whole world is collapsing around you. For the record, nothing is ever as bad as it seems, and I’ve learned that things going south is actually a blessing because it shows you who’s really going to be there for you.  Above all else, I hope no one, not a a single person, forgets the day that Ty Hamblin refused to jump off the cliff at Claytor Lake and instead began his climb of shame all the way back down into the safety of Jack’s boat.

To the underclassmen, you see us as the lucky ones because we’re finally breaking out of here. It wasn’t until I got to the end that I started to envy those at the beginning. When I look back on the days, weeks, and years that comprise my childhood, I see a lot of things that I would have done differently. I see thank you’s I didn’t say; I see moments that I let pass without stopping to appreciate how much I would miss them. There were times that I didn’t stand up for what I knew to be right. There was help I didn’t ask for, days I wasn’t a good friend. There were many, many assignments that I completed by the skin of my teeth, and some that are still pending. You, right now, have the opportunity to move forward, taking that into consideration. Don’t miss the chance to hug your friends a little tighter and a little longer, even if they still haven’t paid you back for the Cookout tray. Sometimes you have to make the choice to stay home and finish your schoolwork, although don’t let me make that decision for you because I never did master that concept. Put your phones down and participate in real life, unless your friends are doing something really stupid because that is the perfect photo opportunity. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Be sure you plant your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Even if you’re standing alone, you’ll be surprised what courage and faith can do. A lot of what seems to matter now, doesn’t. In the same light, most of what you don’t even think about right now is going to be what you find yourself missing the most. Life is so much shorter than what we plan for and by now I’m starting to realize nothing ever goes as planned, but that’s the beauty of it.

I think I speak for everyone when I say I don’t know how to feel because for one of the first times in our lives, a chapter is closing that will never reopen. This is it, highschool days are over. Although we may not feel ready to take this next big step, I feel confident that every one of us will soon realize that Radford High School thoroughly prepared us for the world ahead. We’ve all felt claustrophobic in this small city, but I feel confident that it is actually one of the sweetest places in the world. Whether we move away, or we stay, passing through the streets of Radford, Virginia are going to flood us with an overwhelming feeling of home. Radford, the place where you know all the hang out spots. Home, as in the place where you feel love, the city that shaped you into who you are and who you will become.

To the graduation class of 2017, the jocks and cheerleaders, the artists, musicians, bums, the nerds, closet genuises, over achievers and slackers, and everyone in between, I can’t wait to see who you all become and I can’t thank you enough for playing a part in my experience as a Radford Bobcat.

 

 

“Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future,” John F. Kennedy