Margaret Rodgers '09(Wake Forest University)
To the students of MHS,
Congratulations! At this stage in your life, you are either a) surviving your first year of high school, b) reveling in your sweet status as a sophomore, c) surviving the ever-stressful junior year, or d) reveling in your even-sweeter status as a senior… If you ask me, all of those are fantastic places to be in your life, because high school is the land of infinite opportunity.
In high school, you have the opportunity to be anyone you want to be, to explore your interests, and to have fun doing it. At MHS, I was the Vice President of my class for three years. I played soccer for two years, was on student council and the Principal’s Advisory council, served on the AFG (Accreditation for Growth) Committee, and “ran” track for four years. I worshipped all of my history and English classes, and struggled with science and math. I took a language that I initially selected because I thought it sounded like English, and then promptly got a reality check when we started the chapter on grammar; I later majored in the same language, and am now living abroad, speaking it every day. When I got my mediocre SAT score back, I was devastated, even though I did well on my five AP tests. What’s the point in me telling you all of this?
Experience high school. Join a club or a team, make mistakes, make decisions that you think will be mistakes and then watch them turn into something beautiful, dream big. I was beyond busy in high school, but that’s what worked for me; I work best with a full schedule. Find what works best for you and use it to your advantage!
Develop. Develop relationships with friends and teachers, develop your self-esteem, develop pictures to laugh at when you graduate college and want to see how far you’ve come. And don’t forget to develop relationships with people that are different from you. Learn from others; there’s no such thing as being too cool, or too shy, or too different. Our differences make us who we are, so learn from them.
Live. Have fun! High school isn’t just about the grades you get and your test scores; enjoying the experience is important too. Find the balance, and work it.
Leave a legacy. You know the big wall with all the handprints on it, as you come out of the Foreign language wing? My class did that the year we graduated. My handprint is in the top center, in bright orange. MHS gives each of its students so much; you just have to be willing to accept it. To all you seniors especially: find a way to leave your own legacy at MHS because when you’re a college graduate, and think back on your life, you’ll find that MHS played a much bigger role than you think it does now.
Be thankful. Your teachers, friends, and family are your rocks during high school, and the teachers at MHS are unparalleled in their care for their students. My high school experience was made 10x better just because of the support of my teachers. Special thanks to Pops, Girv, Mrs. Cleary, Frau Lee, Mr. Flug, and Mr. Clymer (who no longer works at MHS) – y’all are the responsible for helping to mold me into the person I am today! Many thanks!
Well, guys, that’s it for my “advice” column here, but one last thing... At the top of the handprint mural, next to my handprint in orange, is another one in blue. When we put our handprints up there in 2009, I had no idea we would be getting married six years later. Life has a funny way of being amazing, so enjoy every second that you can. Post-MHS life is fantastic, but high school will be over in a flash, so you might as well live it up while you can. :)Wishing you all the best and cougar pride,