I still remember the day of my eighth grade graduation, how after the ceremony, I looked at my parents and said, “I can’t believe my next graduation will be high school, but that’s not going to happen for a long time.” Lo and behold, here we are, four years later, and I have exactly one month left until I go off into a new journey. Being asked to write this senior reflection was probably harder for me than the research paper we had to write sophomore year in Mr. Oder’s class. I tried to think, “What am I going to miss the most about Catalina?” and here’s what I came up with:
I’m going to miss eating warm chocolate chip cookies surrounded by my friends in the dining hall while sharing laughs and stories. I’m going to miss watching the fog roll over the hills as Dr. Kapolka sings away on his guitar every Friday. I’m going to miss sitting outside in the sunny courtyard surrounded by friends, wearing sunglasses, listening to music, and doing math homework. I’m going to miss the bright red flowers dotted around campus, and the water bubbling over the fountain. I’m going to miss playing tennis as the sun sets, and the bustle of the theater as students and teachers alike prepare for opening night. I’m going to miss packing admissions decisions in the red parlor, and sharing snacks and life advice in Sullivan Court. I’m going to miss how quiet and peaceful the library is every Thursday during the flex period and going on marine field trips to end the day every Friday. But as I rattled on about little things that I was going to miss, I realized there was one thing in common with everything I had thought about: the people. To me, if there is one thing that I prize the most at Santa Catalina, it’s my friends, classmates, teachers, and faculty. Thank you to my friends who love me almost as much as I love you. Thank you to the teachers who believed in me and cast me to dance in a show even though I was convinced I have two left feet. Thank you to all 64 of my classmates that have become more like 64 sisters, and thank you for the infinite amount of love and support they have given me. Thank you for breaking me out of my comfort zone and making me try new things, and for making me more socially-minded and optimistic about the future. Thank you for making me laugh until I cried or dancing away to smash hits from 2008 ’til the wee hours. For all the smiles, tears, sleepovers, movie marathons, study sessions, birthday dinners, shopping sprees, coffee dates and so much more, I will forever be grateful. Thank you to the teachers who have inspired me and made me fall in love with learning. Thank you for believing in me when I couldn’t believe in myself and for supporting me when I needed it the most. Thank you to such a dynamic student body for making the seniors truly feel like the queens of the school. Thank you to my friends for sticking by my side and loving and cherishing me for exactly who I am, and for making me learn to have confidence in myself–something I have always been looking for–and for the amazing advice they’ve given me regarding some of the most important decisions I have made in my life. For sharing every moment of their life with me, whether it be the happiest or the saddest, the funniest or the most embarrasing, I always end up realizing a little bit more exactly why I love them so much. From the jam sessions in study hall, to lining up to paint our faces for Spirit Day, to screaming our senior chants at the top of our lungs, to the jokes during morning announcements, all the way to having chariot races through the halls for Ring Week, thank you for making me so happy. I don’t know how they do it, but somehow, some way, only the kindest, most selfless, most amazing people end up at Catalina. None of this would be the same, or mean as much as it does to me without the people I call my bestfriends, my classmates, my sisters.
So, if there’s one piece of advice I can give to you, before the rest of you have to give your own senior reflections, it would be to appreciate the little things at Catalina. Remember the bright cherry blossoms and the birds singing in the afternoon, or how beautiful Study Hall sparkles the night before KK’s. Participate in EVERYTHING, and have no regrets throughout your four years. Because sooner or later you’ll be trading in your worn out coffee-brown Converses for a pair of white shoes, your kilt stained with spaghetti sauce and acrylic paint for a white gown, and your mechanical pencils and ballpoint pens for a bouquet of red roses. After that, Catalina will just be another part of you. So before I do that, I just want to say: Thank you, Catalina. Thank you for the smiles, the joy, the knowledge, the opportunities, my friends, my classmates, my teachers, the sunshine, the comfort, the confidence, the second home, the memories, and the barbecue sliders. Thank you for everything. You’ve made me exactly who I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful.