The End of an Era: Reflections from 2012 Class President


Seniors in the Class of 2012 gather around their dean, Jim Mahoney, on their last day of classes before they begin Senior Program.

As Charles Dickens once said “it was the worst of times.” Just kidding, Upper School was great/weird, but great. See, in High School you get just the right combination of hormones, stress, and external stimulants that make fat middle- aged men look back at them and call them “the best days of their lives” but at the same time, they are that perfect combination that facilitates the creation of who we are as people. And that’s kind of weird.
I’ve been asked to write my ode to High School, so the following is my best shot at encapsulating what were the best days of my life between the ages of 15 and 18 (honestly though, do people just forget about junior year finals or something when they reminisce?).
Freshman year was a blur. The first encounter I had with High School was the Blake football team. My first few weeks of experiencing Blake’s Northrop culture was running until I puked, having so much sweat and tears in my eyes that I couldn’t see, and getting chased by a lumbering Charlie Dunning ‘09 (after having just seen him snap the arm of a Michael Carter ‘10 on the first day of contact practice). Needless to say, this set the tone for the rest of my high school experience. My fall was a mix of trying to not get put in football games and riding in friends cars, learning the ins and outs of high school that would help me for the rest of my time at school.
Sophomore year was a good time. I think that the purpose for sophomore year rather than to educate you is to start facilitating development into human-hood. I mean- most kids spend the year studying shapes. This isn’t a bash on geometry, it’s just: sophomore year is more than just something you have to do so that you can take on the beast of Junior year.
This was the year that my internet addiction really kicked in. I spent so much time watching weird YouTube videos and looking at pictures of cats, that I missed the developing into human-hood part. Junior year? All you have to do is look at a junior in November or late May and you know what the year is. Don’t worry, there are no epidemic outbreaks of addiction- it’s just AP week.
If the swollen eyes and dark circles don’t beg some merciful hero to save them, then the college app process will just squeeze the very humors of the body out of it and the words ‘kill me’ will hiss from the poor shell of a human being that once stood there.
All of this leads up to the magnificence of senior year. See, you’re promised senior year to be this kind of heaven that you’ll finally get to inhabit at the end of your Blake career. What they don’t mention is that the first semester of it is actually like the final boss’s final boss.
Senior year’s first semester is like when you finally reach the carrot that’s been dangled in front of your face for 14 years, just to learn that it’s made of wood. But it’s all not that bad because once you’ve bit into your wood carrot and picked the splinters out of your gum line, you enter second semester senior hood- a mythical and strange realm, promised by the ancients and passed down as a writ of slackerdom to all but the truly devoted.
Ah, the high school days. It’s weird to look back at four years of being sleep deprived, wasting away watching cat videos for hours, and being beat into submission by the college process, fondly. But I do.
I think I could say something along the lines of “the people I met and the connections I made helped form me as a person”, but I think that’s not quite it. Instead, it showed me that people are pretty cool.
While I was watching cat videos, I was blinded to what was being created all around me. What people were doing, who they were becoming, – and now that I have all the time I need to watch cat videos, I see what has been going on.
Everybody is growing into fascinating, complex, sometimes really weird, people. That’s what high school is all about, in my opinion. It’s, hopefully, looking back on these moments as some ‘of the best days of my life’- well if not the best, at least some of the strangest.