From the Editor’s Desk: A Friendly Parting Message

Jonah Lee '14

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To the students of Ridge High School:

At the beginning of every year, Mr. Howlett pulls the junior and senior grades out of class and informs them about general rules for the year – behavior, grades, academic integrity, and parking lot conduct, among other things.

But there is one part of his commencement address (apart from his yearly reference to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) that makes me, as a senior, start – when he tells us that we are leaders of the school. And to a certain degree, it is true. We are expected to stay out of trouble, stay in school, get respectable grades, make some friends; afterwards, we go to college, get a job, join the armed forces, or find our own paths. This sets an example for the incoming generations of students who are eager to take our place at the top of the high school food chain.

Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), seven months later, as the senior class prepares to start completely different lives, we know that we are far from being leaders of anything. We have been to college campuses and gotten a taste of the independence that awaits us; met different kinds of people from every corner of the world; been approached with offers of jobs and our very own taxable incomes. How can any of us be fully prepared for such a radical change in lifestyle and surroundings? In high school, we are the biggest fish in an even smaller pond – and right before we are tossed into the ocean, the real world, the teachers and administrators come around and try to remind us that we are “leaders.” But, in my opinion, entering the real world with such a misconception of ourselves can have disastrous consequences – who knows how big the fish get in the abyss of the ocean?

At Ridge, and especially in the class of 2014, students excel in every imaginable part of high school. We have Einstein-level mathematicians, nationally recognized musicians, and an unusually talented pool of athletes. Metaphorically speaking, this might increase our size as fish in the ocean; the only way to adjust to this new life is to build on the skills we have and develop new ones along the way.

But are we leaders? Of Ridge High School, maybe. There is not much comfort to be had in that answer. Most of us are already thinking about what classes to take next year, who our roommates will be, or what fraternities or sororities to join. It is the new life about which we are concerned, not the old one, and therefore we are being led rather than leading. So I will leave it up to the next senior class, and every class after that, to agree or disagree with me in following years, but heed my advice – even as a senior, you are no shark; don’t get a big head.

 

Good luck.

Jonah Lee, Class of 2014

Co-Copy Editor, The Devil’s Advocate

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From the Editor’s Desk: A Friendly Parting Message