Walker Prince’s senior reflection

Imagine this: You are about to put your favorite album on the turntable, ready to venture on an auditory journey. While admiring the cover art, you carefully extract your vinyl from the dust sleeve. You handle the record with caution, not wanting to damage the grooves and scratch it up. Now the best part: you hold the needle steady and drop it on the vinyl. The first track has started playing; You are ready to get lost in your favorite album. Just as an album is a collection of songs, high school is a collection of memories; I can’t help but compare my high school experience to that of a favorite vinyl record.

For the most part, my high school experience played smoothly. Being a captain of our school’s football team is an opportunity that doesn’t come by often; I could not ask for a better experience. Taking on a leadership role on the team was an invaluable experience. This role taught me how to be a leader, a mentor and a better teammate. These lessons will no doubt help me in this next chapter of my life. This passion for the sport also leads me to Oberlin College, where I will be playing football. I would also like to thank some of the incredible teachers and staff who helped me along this wild journey that is high school. Coach Hurd, thank you for entrusting me to being a leader on the team and being someone who always had my best interest. Mr. Butler, thank you for having the most engaging/interesting classes, every single day I look forward to them. Finally, thank you Mrs. MacFadden for pushing me beyond what I thought I was capable of. I like to think of my teachers as the producers of the record. They are the ones behind the scenes that do not get the credit they deserve, despite playing one of the most crucial parts on the record.

With that being said, It was not all smooth. My high school experience had more than its fair share of warps, scratches and errors. In my freshman year, I wasn’t the most academically driven student. That toxic mix of the pandemic reinforced laziness whilst being in the daily struggle of isolation. Even after the pandemic, it was self-evident that my problems didn’t just disappear. If anything, it was the same amount of skips. I was heading into my junior year after a full year of learning through Zoom, which in and of itself opened up a whole new realm of stress. The mix of pressure for academic success, college decisions, stacking up extracurriculars, and preparing for the SAT/ACT was weighing me down. Despite this, I survived, and if anything, I flourished. Coming back to in-person learning, I earned the best grades of my entire academic career.

The idea of high school to me is about controlling your destiny. You decide which album you’re going to listen to. You set the tone. You are granted more freedom, responsibility, and liberty. And as the needle on the vinyl is perpetually heading toward the center of the record, high school must also come to an end. No more music is playing. But you realize that there is a whole other side to the vinyl, an additional journey to tackle, a whole other collection of songs waiting to be relished. Even though you enjoyed your time listening to this side of the record, perhaps you will like the other side even better.