When people say high school goes by in the blink of an eye, they aren’t kidding. It feels like yesterday when I was scouring around the crowded halls, a confused freshman, with a school map in my hand. I was surrounded by hundreds of new faces, each one with a warm, welcoming smile. This was it: Berkley High School.
Freshman year, I tried to get as involved as I could. I joined the school band as well as the soccer team. Each class, activity, and event brought upon new experiences and friendships. I will never forget my freshman year, playing my trumpet outside of Starbucks in the freezing weather to raise money for the band program. What seemed insignificant back then is now a fond memory I look back on and smile at. I was making a difference in my community. When soccer season came around, I was nervous. I had never played at the high school level, but with each practice, I grew more comfortable. I emerged more confident in my abilities as an athlete and a leader.
Sophomore year rolled around, and I dove into a new challenge: my first AP class. I took AP Government first semester and AP Economics second semester. These were easily two of my favorite classes in all of high school. I will never forget the nickname Mr. Petrous gave me: Little Miss Middlemiss. One of my favorite memories from my sophomore year was making my final project for AP Econ. My friends and I made lyrics to a song about everything we had learned that semester. We shared so many laughs and fun times, not to mention we earned some extra credit in the process. Sophomore year, I blossomed into a social butterfly. I began to challenge myself in ways that exposed me to new interests and ideas about the world.
Junior year is where things got interesting, to say the least. Let’s start with one of my favorite high school experiences: Powderpuff. I loved the bonding aspect of showing up to practice and getting to know all the girls on the team. When the day of the game came around, I was ready to go. If you know me, you know I’m competitive. If something has to do with sports, I’m all over it. The seniors unfortunately beat us, but I did have the only catch of the game on either team. Not to toot my own horn, but it was pretty cool.
The school year was going great, and then chaos struck. The new “coronavirus” had appeared in Michigan. I asked myself, “How bad could this possibly be?” Boy, was I in for a treat. When we got sent home for the remainder of the school year, it was a struggle. I deeply missed my peers and teachers. I lacked the motivation to do my school work, a feeling I had rarely experienced before. If being locked up in my house taught me anything, it’s that my favorite thing about Berkley High School is the amazing community. It truly does feel like a family. To any underclassmen reading this, I have some advice I’d like to share. Don’t take your classmates for granted, because someday, you’ll all go in different directions. Appreciate the time you have with them because those are memories you’ll cherish forever.
The summer going into my senior year was one of the best of my life. I built friendships that would not only continue into the school year but even beyond high school. I began thinking about what I want to make of my future. The time was ticking, and soon enough, I’d have to start thinking about applying to colleges. This was such a surreal experience because it’s something you only dream about when you’re a little kid. Now, it was starting to become a reality. Heading into senior year, I was ready to set myself up for success and make it the best school year possible with the given circumstances.
The first half of senior year wasn’t exactly what you see in the movies. I remember sitting at home, joining Zoom, and letting out a big sigh. Sure, it was nice to see people again, but seeing them over a screen was nowhere near as fulfilling as seeing them in person. It all came back to the community aspect. I desperately wanted to go back in person and see everyone. When we were finally able to, I was ecstatic. Being reunited with my classmates and teachers brought me an overwhelming sense of joy. Life is starting to feel normal again.
Among my academic experiences, many fun events were in the mix as well. I loved going to all the football games. Being part of the student section gave me such a rush of adrenaline that I will never forget. I remember going to Leo’s Coney Island after nearly every game and running into a plethora of students. We would all order our favorite comfort meal and banter about whatever we wanted. It made my friendships even stronger and made my high school experience far more memorable.
Aside from football games, another one of my favorite events was pep rallies. These would take place every year before the homecoming football game. Each grade would wear their class color. Every year, I tie-dyed a shirt and put my name and graduation year on it. It was something I always looked forward to. The assemblies were always so chaotic but in the best way possible. They brought people together in the spirit of community and school pride. In the words of the fight song, Berkley Bears will always march onto victory.
When I look back on my high school years, I get filled with nothing but joy. I laugh and smile at every experience, no matter how big or small. I am amazed at how fast it went by. In the blink of an eye, I lived another four years of life. Now, I am onto the next chapter of my life. Berkley High school has given me the tools I need to succeed, the friendships I’ve always hoped for, and memories I’ll always hold in my heart. And for that, I am forever grateful.