Thursday, June 5, 2003

Graduation

From the same beginnings at WV, class of 2003 starting new chapters

Marc Morris
West Valley High School

As June 8 creeps closer, we are nearing our last walk down the halls of West Valley High School.

These halls, home to many events, have witnessed more than the passing from class to class: the occasional fights, the hurried kiss of a couple, the seniors protesting, the crying on stairs, the rapid flight to beat the bell to class, and the inevitable food fight.

While some of us are bound for college or the Army, there are also those who just wish to get as far away from Spokane as possible.

But we all started in the same place, timid freshmen shyly passing through the doorway searching for a familiar face, not sure what to say or who to say it to, and constantly wondering if those stories our older siblings told us were true.

Everyone knows the stories: A group of seniors making a poor freshman push a penny with his nose down the hall while another quietly goes home to change his wet clothes after an involuntary swim in the pond. Of course, these stories were fabrications founded on events of an earlier generation. Whatever the stories, no matter how scared we were, we survived that first day.

Somewhere between chemistry, English and math, we grew up. We have become young adults -- quietly heeding the advise of those who give it to us -- careful to not let them know we're listening. Many of us have tried to remain children as long as we can, to avoid the responsibilities of adulthood, but some realities of life hit us hard. I still remember the day West Valley's halls fell silent as the nation sat in stunned mourning of the victims of Sept. 11, the first time teachers didn't discipline students when they used cell phones during class to talk to friends, relatives and parents.

We have survived.

We survived Sept. 11, the loss of senior lockers, and the monotonous, seemingly unimportant mentor classes. We survived our first high school dance, the WASL and the sleepless nights of wondering how that paper that was due a week ago would ever get finished.

We survived Mr. Loy's emotional speech during a Veterans Day assembly, Principal Penberthy's intellect and flow of extended metaphors, and Superintendent Smith's decision that we can't eat on the floor any more during lunch.

We have survived the failures and the successes, and we continue walking toward our dreams.

The children who entered into West Valley High School's halls in September of 1999 have turned into a diverse family, as different from their peers as apples from oranges, but still the same, all struggling to stay afloat in the ocean of life.

We are leaving our West Valley home of four years to be dispersed into colleges around the world, into basic training, and into the work force.

Through our triumphs and failures we have relied on the members of our class for support and comic relief. We have seen teachers start fresh and others retire, friends leave and new ones made. But as the echoes of our footsteps follow us down the hall and out the door, we will be stepping onto a new roller coaster, a new chapter in the lives of the class of 2003.

After graduating from West Valley High School, Marc Morris plans to attend the University of Washington and study aeronautical engineering and design.

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