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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Moving on

Cherylyn Kettel Riverside High School

“Valedictorian.” The one word that I have dedicated four years of my life to attaining. My oldest brother was valedictorian, and I knew that I wanted to prove to my family that he was not the only smart one. My name is Cherylyn. I am the youngest child with three older brothers, class president, and now valedictorian.

As I prepare to graduate in less than a month I smile as the excitement of ending high school looms ahead of me. I am ready to enter the so called “real world” and my future is whatever I make of it, but there is this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I can’t put my finger on. Maybe it is nostalgia or maybe it is just a fear of change but there is a part of me that wants to stay in high school forever.

Don’t get me wrong. I am overjoyed to finally be done with all of the tests, quizzes, lectures and teenage drama that come with high school. But as I reflect I realize that I am going to miss my friends and the security of going to school every day. What I mean is, for the past four years I have gone to school at 8, sat through my classes and then gone to basketball practice or gone home. My routine never changed.

It is very odd to think that my life as I have known it is finally coming to an end. No longer will I squeeze my car into the Riverside High parking lot, or eat lunch in the multipurpose room, or joke around with my teachers. I have spent so much of my time waiting and praying for a swift arrival of the moment when the principal calls my name to give me my diploma. My efforts have been so focused on graduation that I have let all of the good things about high school slip by, such as sharing a locker with my best friend, team dinners with my basketball girls, and getting dressed up for prom.

Granted there are some things about high school that will not be missed but in my case, the good memories far outweigh the bad. I can only hope that the same is true for you. People wiser than me have told me that high school was one of the best times of their life to which I thought, “Man, if these are the best times of my life my future is gonna be grim.” It is only now as I fill out applications for jobs, scholarships and colleges that I understand the freedom that we as high school students have. We are young, don’t pay bills, we go to school with our friends and then we get three months off in the summer to relax and play around.

The fact that I have a new and adventurous future ahead of me is great, but let’s face it. Never again will there be a time in my life when I can depend on someone else to support me, cook for me, clothe me, and pay all bills and expenses. No, I am going off to college where I will have to work and go to school and eventually get a 9-5 job, where I will have to be an independent responsible adult (yuck!). I am looking forward to college but I know that it is going to be nothing like the life I have come to know so well.

They say, “change is good,” but I think change is hard. I know graduation will involve many tears as we close the high school chapters of our lives and set out to write our future.

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