Thursday, June 5, 2003

Graduation

2003 grads deeply affected by world events in last four years

Joel Strasser
Lakeside High School

In the year 1999, we entered high school. Our priorities were finding a date to our first-ever homecoming and avoiding territorial “swirlies” that would inevitably come if found by a senior in the wrong spot.

Shortly thereafter, our focus began to shift; the problems that had once plagued our 14- and 15-year-old brains now seemed so insignificant. If memory serves, the hysteria began around Dec. 10. People were stocking up on bottled water and canned food; gas-powered electricity generators were in high demand. While the whole Y2K fiasco turned out to be a false alarm, it did help us appreciate the many modern conveniences we had taken for granted. As the weather began to heat up, we felt relief that the hardest part of high school was over; from there it could only get better.

As our sophomore school year approached, we found ourselves in a new and exciting situation. The oldest among us were getting their driver's licenses! Now instead of spending evenings at home playing videogames, we were cramming ourselves by the half-dozens into someone's newly gifted jalopy.

As juniors, we began experiencing high school from a different view. As upperclassmen, we benefited from fewer required classes and, having paid our dues, earned respect of the seniors. We were near the top and we knew it; we could hardly hold back our screams of excitement.

Then came the event that silenced all of America. On Sept. 11, the pain for our fellow countrymen and the reminder of the precious frailty of life changed each and every one of us, and left a pall over the months that followed. When our junior year dwindled to its final week, we got a sample of the good life. The seniors had graduated, and we reached the top of the high school mountain.

Returning from our final summer break brought the realization that in nine short months we would no longer be high school students. As we felt the serious effects of “senioritis” begin to kick in, once again events beyond our control began to invade. As Vietnam did for our parents, Iraq reminds our generation of how close death can be.

Our high school memories have shaped our lives and given us the determination to face our tomorrows.

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