by Lucy Kuchma
In the midst of every chaotic thing going on in my personal life in the past four years, school has always been a constant. I could count on the stability of simply showing up and moving from point A to point B; from a graphic organizer to an in-class essay, a pop quiz to a big exam. Just one thing after another, working towards the distant end-point: graduation.
These things can all become pretty taxing after a while, especially when you begin to question whether it is truly worthwhile for you to be doing them. On any given day, my mom could ask me what I learned in school and I might tell her, “not much really” or “same stuff as always,” when in reality, with every passing day, we are being exposed to information and academic techniques that slowly but surely shape the people we will ultimately be beyond high school.
It can be easy to perceive school only to be a waste of your “precious” time—I promise that I myself am guilty of this, but I am confident most of us will look back on our high school experiences with at least a mild sentiment of gratitude for the opportunities and skills that our educational system helped create for us. Plus, as good as just never having had to come to school might sound, if you imagine the lives we would all be living were we not coming here every week, it’s frankly very depressing and even frightening. Teenagers are infamous for their lack of appreciation for the gifts they have in life. I will be the first one
to admit that I have let good things slip away because I failed to recognize how meaningful they were to me when I had the chance. There are high school students in this country that would never dream of taking an AP class, and here, it’s not abnormal to take 4 or 5 before your graduate. There are students who have never seen a Promethean Board and would not have a clue what to do with one.
There are students who have never had a peer who is Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or really, with any background or lifestyle different from their own. It seems crazy because our advantages are invisible to us until we go out into the world beyond our tight-knit community and begin to comprehend the extent to which our learning environment has fostered our intellectual curiosity, cultural exposure, and tangible change making. It took me until very recently to come to the realization that I am so immensely lucky to have gotten to attend a school like Sherwood.
Despite its undeniable flaws, this school and many members of the faculty have helped me in ways that I could never really put into words. I have solved seemingly impossible problems, asked thought-provoking questions, developed critical opinions, and confronted failure. Without having overcome all of these things, I do not know who I would be or how I might be prepared to approach college and my life beyond. As ready as I am to move on from Sherwood, I know that, as a result of my diverse and comprehensive experience, I am equipped to take on my life, and for that, I could not be more thankful.