The Last Word

The senior staff members get an “open-mic” for their final byline


The Oracle

The Oracle senior staff members — Avery Gallant, Andrew Deal, Hannah Stelitano, Julia Barbati, Sarah Naccarato, and Kamaria Mutadabur

by Julia Barbati

The feeling you get starting into May is—odd. I know I’m going to graduate soon yet it doesn’t feel that way. I still have so much I want to do and experience in this high school. I cannot change time and this will soon come to an end.
I have felt an immense amount of pressure these last four years. I let that pressure take over me, my performance, and relationships. This has consumed so much of my life but it was all self sabotage. Although it is easier said than done, and I am still learning – don’t take things so seriously. I can recall so many times where I could have enjoyed myself, had fun, and spent more time with friends but I was so focused on taking things seriously. Have fun – you will not remember the times you were stressed out, but rather you’ll remember the things you experienced.
I wish someone would have told me before this year that I didn’t have to have everything figured out for my future plans. I had no idea what I wanted to do up until a week ago. It is ok and you will figure it out.
I never thought I’d miss something that I spent so much time hating. We have been surrounded by the same people for as long as we can remember and we will soon go our separate ways. In a way you are proud of your classmates for what you have watched them accomplish and you want them to go onto better things in life, but it is still so bittersweet.
I am thankful for so much from these past four years. I finally found people who were genuinely my friends and care about me. I have dealt with some of the most kind, patient, and dedicated teachers and I give them the credit for my success. I am thankful for the opportunity to challenge myself in classes.
Most importantly, I am thankful for Mr.Schott. I would have never joined the newspaper if it wasn’t for his recruitment process. He has given me opportunities that I would have never had if it wasn’t for him. This year I won a PA award and a national award for a Sustainability story as well as having a quote published in an online textbook. Opportunities like that do not always happen so I am very grateful.
I am emotional about leaving this high school but I am excited to see what the future has in store and I will always treasure the memories I have made here.

by Andrew Deal

If my current day self was able to go back in time to the beginning of Freshman year and tell my Freshman Year self everything that I was going to be able to achieve throughout high school, my freshman year self would have thought I was crazy.
I entered high school small and scared. I didn’t really know what to expect in the next four years and I didn’t expect it to go this fast. However, I adapted quickly and learned to truly be myself. For anyone not sure of the future and what to expect, just be yourself and everything will fall into place.
That’s what I did and I was able to have opportunities and experiences I never would even have dreamed to have.
The fact I was able to interview people like Neil Walker, David Bednar, Thomas Tull, Jason Mackey, and others is just mind blowing to me. Newspaper has allowed me to reach out, to be who I am, and to achieve goals that I didn’t even think I would want to achieve in a high school newspaper class.
There are so many things that I am going to miss from this school that I can’t even begin to start. For anyone in the future that is going through this same thing – just be yourself, don’t do things because you want to please others, and don’t wish it away too fast because it will go by way too fast.

by Avery Gallant

I am lucky to say that I am proud of the person I have become since freshman year. I used to think that being involved was stupid. I never expected to be involved in stage crew or honors societies.
Being involved has given me more opportunities that I never expected. I have been able to have leadership positions and help foster change for things I care about. I don’t have many regrets coming out of high school but I do regret not getting involved sooner.
I feel like I’ve missed out on something because I missed out on my freshman year. Though I regret it, I know that it was all meant to happen. If I would’ve joined sooner I probably wouldn’t have met the people I have and had the same experiences. I know that I would not be where I am now.
If I can give any advice, I would say to get involved and don’t let wanting to be the cool kid stop you. You will realize that no one cares what you do anymore. “Never be ashamed of trying…effortlessness is a myth” – Taylor Swift

by Kamaria Mutadabur

Dear Class of 2023:
Over the course of the year, we would say, “I can’t wait to get out of here” along with many other similar statements. As much as I believe that we are all tired and ready to move on with our lives, I think it’s important to take a step back and focus on the times where we were not tired, or even (call me crazy) the times when we were tired. The times where we were nervous to present something in class, or the times we were angry over a grade. The times where hours were spent studying the same material over and over.
It’s important to reminisce on the times we struggled because being able to reminisce is living proof that we lived through it. We tried our hardest and whether or not we believed it, it was more than enough.
It’s okay to appreciate that it’s almost gone, but I appreciate that it happened. Being here taught me more about myself than I could have ever known. It taught me that I won’t be the best at everything, but if I put the effort in, it will always be worth it. It taught me that people change and grow apart, but this is no one’s fault. It taught me that no matter how strong someone seems, at the end of the day we are all human and there will be moments where we will crash. When we crash what matters is that we got back up and kept pushing forward.
When we were underclassmen, “I can’t wait for summer” meant that the school year was over, but we would be back in a couple months. We would see the same classmates again, the same teachers in the same building. We earned a break from the pressures of school work. Summer meant fun, sunshine, relaxing, and just being a kid.
But now summer just means another season. We will never return to high school from summer vacation, never come back to the same building seeing those familiar people. The chances of all of friendships, relationships, clubs, or opportunities we never tried, will never exist again the same way it did when we were here. Before it becomes too late to say this, as sappy and corny as it seems, I’m happy to have had the chance to grow up with you all.

Dear classes who come after us:

I’m sure you’ve heard the same sayings about how fast high school is, but in my experience, this is only half correct. High school can be really fast, that fact is true, but it can also be incredibly slow. It’s all about perspective. Because when I was an underclassman, high school at the time felt like an eternity. The same people, the same routes to classes, same teachers, same material, same schedules. It was almost like repeating cycles. But as a senior, I realized that it wasn’t cycles, it was linear. Because although all of those aspects were the same at the time, I was a different person experiencing them. Of course you won’t understand this until you’re in my position, but as you walk through these next few years, don’t focus on the things that are the same, but focus on what you can do to make them different. Join all of the clubs you want to, take the classes that interest you the most, do everything that you think will make you the happiest, no matter how many of your friends agree with you on it. It’s okay to have regrets, if it’s making you happy in the moment, it can never be a bad thing.

Also remember that change is inevitable, no matter how unhappy you are with yourself or the state at which things are, it won’t be the same in these next coming years. With that being said, be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and try your best at everything you do. You never know how things will turn out. You might think that it won’t get better, but you have so much more to learn and experience. We all do. You might also think that nothing you do matters until your senior year, but your entire future can be decided based on how you behave and how well you do as a freshman. These are prominent years so please take them seriously. Nothing is worth abandoning your future self, you must treat them well too. You don’t have to have everything figured out. Please give your future self as many opportunities so that when it comes time to make your decision, you can. And as you don’t have to be the best out of everyone, please do the best within yourself.

by Sarah Naccarato

Over the course of my high school career, I have had my highs and lows. I have been put in many uncomfortable situations, met lots of people I don’t like, dealt with some of the worst assignments I have ever seen, and yet I find myself grateful for the ride.
A lot of people talk about being so eager to graduate and leave some people behind (justifiably), but I never imagined how sad it is going to be to leave hundreds of people I grew up with, no matter how little we have said to each other. We all, unknowingly, grew up together.
It was in this high school building that I learned so much—and no I am not talking about Ohm’s Law or foreign exchange rates. When I was a freshman, I was so incredibly scared of the world and not knowing who I wanted to be—and I still am. Yet at the same time, as I started growing up I found myself leaving my comfort zone more and more, not caring what people think of me as long as I am having fun, and simply trying to make the best of my time here. Yes, I am a bit frustrated at myself for not adopting this mindset sooner, but what can you expect?
Now as I leave, I have come to recognize that what made my years so much better were the incredibly supportive teachers that have always listened to me complain, the friends that I have most likely been a little too obnoxiously loud with, and all the little moments in between that we have taken to enjoy. It’s the fun chatter before a class actually starts, the way you can tell when a teacher is very passionate about what they teach about, making ridiculous inside jokes, and learning to really have fun.
Thanks to Mr. Schott, being a part of the newspaper has brought me so many joyful memories (including the ice cream cake) and taught me that when an opportunity arises, no matter how far from your comfort zone it is, you must take it. I’ve heard incredible stories about 1980s horror movie special effects, exposing corrupt politicians on the front page, the power of human perseverance, and so much more. For that, I am thankful.
One of my favorite movies taught me, “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” As corny as it may sound, it is also incredibly true. It will never be like this again. Thank you to everyone who got me here, and farewell.

by Hannah Stelitano

Four years is a lot to reflect on but when looking at it all, I am grateful for the experiences I have had. Before entering high school, I never thought I would enjoy it, but I have had so many opportunities and experiences that make it hard to leave. I have paraded down Main Street USA, choreographed a dance winning many 1st place awards and titles, been president of two honors societies, interviewed multiple famous actors, and won the Trib Outstanding Young Citizen award two years in a row.
One of my most memorable experiences has been being on The Oracle staff for the past three years. Mr. Schott has truly made this class something to look forward to every morning. I have had many opportunities for interviews, seeing live shows, and writing stories that allow me to show a side of myself nobody realizes. This class has given me some of the best memories (Flight 93 field trip, getting stood up on an interview with Becca Beckas, Frank’s golf recap, etc.) and I am grateful for everything Mr. Schott has done to make this class what it is.
One piece of advice — do not worry about what others think. Do what makes you happy. People will say things that hurt you, but it is how you respond to these words that defines who you are. If you are constantly thinking that people are judging you, you will miss many opportunities. “Words can break someone into a million pieces, but they can also put them back together. I hope you use yours for good, because the only words you’ll regret more than the ones left unsaid are the ones you use to intentionally hurt someone.” (Taylor Swift)
I do not want to say goodbye, but see you later.