My Last First Day


I remember my first day of kindergarten: I was walking around the River Ranch campus holding my dad’s hand and asking every question 5-year-old me could come up with about my new school. I remember Mrs. Suzy always greeting us with smiles and being so excited to climb the big red rope tower during recess. I wish somebody would have told me these were the good ole days. In elementary and all through middle school, I spent so much time wanting to grow up and be a “big kid”. I really should have listened to my parents when they said being a kid is the best thing ever. All that really mattered back then was who had new cool shoes and a new sick pencil case and what team won “Steal the Bacon”. Where did the time go?

On August 8, 2019, I woke up for my last first day as an Ascension Blue Gator. I remember waking up and feeling like nothing had changed, like this was just another day of sophomore year. Like this wasn’t the beginning of the end. Gone were the days where mom would rush me out of bed extra early so that she could get me dressed up cute for my first day of school picture. After this year, there would be no more first day of school breakfast with my “School Girls”, no more emails from Coach Dardar about making “conscious decisions”, or emailing Mrs. Fournet because you don’t have a class schedule because you totally “didn’t get that email”. I took for granted the days not spent worrying about the ACT or having to apply for college and worrying about if I get in. Now, every time I speak to an adult, they want to know what my plans for the future are, and what I’m going to major in, and where I want to go, and I just want to crawl into a hole and not have to even think about answering them. 

This is a year of lasts and I’m not ready for any of them.  I just experienced my last back to school dance, and it was so bittersweet. Being in a room with all of your people singing and dancing like no one cares is something I am always going to remember. The feeling of jumping around with your best friends to some 2003 throwback jam is going to be some of the best memories we have from high school. Soon, it’ll be my last school photo, then my last Friday night football game, then my last college application, and finally my last day of high school. And I know I’m jumping the gun a little on all these lasts but I want all of my fellow seniors to understand what an amazing gift we have been given to have been able to be a Blue Gator. There is no other high school experience like this one. There is no other school where the principal will dress up as Santa Clause and dance with John Picard for the whole school’s entertainment. No other high school has the amount of freedom to be yourself that we do, and we often take that for granted. I know a lot of this year will be spent in preparation for what comes next, but don’t let it distract you from the here and now. 

Here, you have the opportunity to make memories you will talk about for a lifetime, so don’t waste it all on the future. Ascension has broken me out of my shell tremendously and will continue to do so all throughout this year. At what other school can you get up in front of the entire student body and dance like a complete idiot and not fear being made fun of? If you would have told 8th grade me that I would be doing that, I would have asked Neal-Jones to check on you because you’re delusional. Now is the time to talk to people you never have before or do that one thing you might’ve been too afraid to do before. There isn’t another chance to do it after this year so why not do it? Even if I don’t want to, in 264 days I will be walking the stage to get my diploma and I plan on living up my senior year to the fullest with all my people from the class of 2020. I know I may never see some of these people again after graduation so I better make the most of it now.  To the underclassmen who read this, don’t waste your time here. I wish I would have listened when my parents and friends said these are the best years of your life. I know it feels like it will last forever and like high school will never end, but it does. You will be just like me freaking out about my impending doom. Wondering where to apply and if your resume looks good enough for where ever you want to go, and if that certain school is going to give you a scholarship and yada yada yada. So appreciate the heck out of this place because, at the end of the emotional roller coaster that we call high school, we will only have our memories and the lessons we learned. I’m not sure when all this growing up happened but it did and now I’m here. Ready or not I’m doing this and I’m planning to cherish every moment I have left here.