Shalah Russell

I honestly don’t even know where to start; I know this might sound cliche but it’s true what they say, high school goes by fast. It feels like just yesterday I was in homeroom on the first day worrying about how the heck I was going to find my way to all of my classes in the huge building and now I’m writing a farewell memo to the place I’ve spent a majority of my time at for the last four years. It just doesn’t feel real. 

Now high school was … an experience to say the least. Regarding academics, my social life, and my mental health there were many ups and downs. But instead of using this to complain about the things that went wrong or the stuff I missed out on, I want to focus on the “ups”– the things that I will remember for years to come, the things that I will cherish. 

First and foremost I want to say goodbye to my teachers. I don’t know if there is another place on Earth where I will find a more supportive and loving group of people. Throughout these years, teachers and faculty have shown time and time again that they truly care about me and my future. All of the extra homework help, the heart-to-heart chats, the inside jokes, the goofy emails, the advice, etc. When other groups of people weren’t there for me I could always count on my teachers’ support. Thank you for everything!

Next, I would like to say “goodbye” to some friends and various acquaintances I have met over the years. It’s a “goodbye” and not a goodbye because I plan to stay in contact with my closest friends even though we are all going our separate ways. With the help of modern technology, I can’t wait to check up on you guys and your new lives in a few months (or next year depending on when Miss Rona decides to leave us alone). Thank you for all of the memories we made during high school, we’ve had quite a few adventures. I’d also just like to thank some of the random people I’ve met in the building or at school events; I always loved meeting new people and learning a bit about their interests or just meeting someone and recognizing a new friendly face in the hallway. 

Lastly, and reluctantly, I’m going to say goodbye to Clarion. Warning, this one might be a tear-jerker (okay I can do this). I remember the very first time I stepped into Mr. Helgeson’s classroom sophomore year. The atmosphere was so completely different than any other class I had ever taken. Surprisingly, the lively energy and the animated nature of the room intrigued me (an introvert) and made me want to learn more about journalism. For the next three years I poured my heart and soul into that club-like class. I have so many amazing memories, just thinking about them makes me want to cry. I remember telling my non-journalist friends about our 9:00 PM hard copy escapades, which they winced at the thought of, but I don’t remember thinking of it as torture; I remember it as spending the day and night with some of my best friends working together to do something we love. I remember editing articles, and having staff meetings while getting to listen to everyone pitch their ideas, and Chipotle runs during hardcopy, and Food Fridays, and hearing/reading the feedback of our publications, and getting recognized for our efforts, and working together as a team. Clarion was always a safe haven for me. It was an environment where I always felt understood and free to express myself there. Not to sound cheesy or anything but it was always my second home — we definitely decorated it like one, with our coffee maker, stored clothes/blankets, and snack stash. I always felt so cool being a part of Clarion and getting access to special events and fresh pieces of news. It opened up doors of opportunity for me and helped me discover some new passions and interests. One of the things I loved most about Clarion is that it brought together such a unique group of people– kids from all corners of the school with a broad range of interests and opinions. This helped diversify our paper and helped teach our staff how to function in a group made up of varying personalities and perspectives. It will feel so weird not seeing the people I’ve gotten to know and love over the past three years. If I’m being honest I can’t wait to visit the staff next school year. 

So in a nutshell, high school was a time where I got to learn a lot about myself, my desires, and my aspirations. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anyone else’s. Yes, there are some things I could have done better and some things I should have taken advantage of, but I wouldn’t go back in time and change a thing because I wouldn’t have gained any wisdom. My advice to underclassmen is to cherish every moment because it all ends before you know it. There are some things that you’ll only ever be able to do in high school. But, I’d also want to tell them to not think of high school as the end, but as a stepping stone to the next phase of your life. With that being said I want to end this goodbye on a happy note. Thanks for everything RB!


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