Photo Credit: Emily Wise/Used With Permission
As anyone who knows me well –or really who just happened to witness the crying fest that was swim senior night or even the car parade, can tell you–I am a very emotional person and Academy means the world to me.
When I first came to Academy, however, I was a completely different person than I am today. I was anxious and afraid to be myself with so many new people. I thought that there was no way I would fit in and make friends, and yes, I was very concerned about the all girls aspect. I lacked self confidence and doubted myself at every turn. I struggled with my parents for a while before coming to the school wondering if it was the right place for me, yet now I can’t and don’t want to imagine a world where I didn’t go to school here.
I remember watching the seniors run in at orientation my freshman year. They were so happy to all be together and so unashamed; dancing and singing to every song in front of the whole school. At the time, I could never imagine myself up there. Now, I wish I had the chance to do it with our grade just one more time. Academy, and all of my classmates, helped form me into who I am today.
Our grade is different from others in many aspects. We face every challenge thrown at us with resilience and determination, and we demonstrated that time and time again over the last four years and especially these last few months. We don’t always agree on everything, shown through the senior shirt fiasco (which we never did thank Reagan enough for handling), but when the time comes we are there for each other unconditionally.
One of my favorite memories from this year is the senior retreat. It was our last days together before COVID, and although we didn’t know it then–I can’t imagine a more beautiful and untraditional last day together. That night, after dinner, a group of us sat by the fire and sang songs. It wasn’t just one group of friends– most of us didn’t regularly hang out together but I think it was one of the most fun times I have had at the Academy. That is what is so special about our grade: we are all unique and beautifully our own yet we fit so well together. We celebrate each other’s successes and are there for each other through our lows. For example, this year our grade went to more of each other’s athletic games than any grade I have ever seen. There had never been so many girls come and watch a swim meet than our Senior Night. We also encouraged each other to step out of our comfort zone and try things that scared us. One Bio class, Katelyn and Emma spent at least 20 minutes convincing me to try pole vaulting this year, and it turned out to be one of the best spontaneous decisions I’ve made. We are powerful and opinionated, always unafraid to share our views while listening to and considering other viewpoints.
For this reason, one of my favorite classes was US Government this year. I always listened in awe while every girl in the class would participate in discussion and intelligently share their own thoughts while recognizing differences. Our conversation was always mature and thought provoking–representative of Academy’s efforts to make us both intelligent and curious women. Our grade is also filled with some of the most kind hearted and thoughtful girls. This was apparent when Lauren Jones had remembered that Mrs. Zambrano said she had always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride,so, for her retirement, we all pitched in and got one for her and her husband. Above all, our grade could make the best out of and have fun in any situation. When we were in Vegas last summer for Math Team Nationals, the first day we got there, we were exhausted but had to go to an assembly later at night. They were playing music before it started, and in true Academy fashion, we went in singing and dancing, having the most fun, regardless of the stares coming from every direction. I can’t even begin to share all of my favorite memories from Academy and what they mean to me, but I hope those will do.
I am so thankful for my parents, teachers, coaches, and loved ones for helping to shape me to who I am today, but above all I am thankful for all of you. I know I wouldn’t be here without you all and so much of who I am is because of all of you. I love you all a million times over and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you. Thank you for everything.