Goodbye High School

For their final article, seniors on Guide Post were asked to write a reflection on their four years at North. What were their memories and accomplishments? Regrets? What would they have done differently? What advice would they give to their younger self? Here’s what Katharine Tang had to say.

I see a bee, a narwhal, a fox, a butterfly, a koala, and a dinosaur shining against the grass, and I feel at home. Of course, it is really just my friends’ matching animal-themed backpacks tossed to the side as we lie together on the school lawn during our lunch period.

Katharine Tang and Kaitlin Tam with their matching bee and narwhal backpacks (Credit: Katharine Tang).
Katharine Tang and Kaitlin Lam with their matching bee and narwhal backpacks (Credit: Katharine Tang).

Looking around, the steps of the school are overfilled with our classmates, competitive spike ball games are being played across the grass, and the ice cream truck is crowded by students craving for a chocolate-dipped soft serve cone. The class officers huddle around a table to perfect the itinerary of our end-of-year events. Even Mr. Levine comes out, encouraging the usual library-goers to take advantage of the sun. We listen to the loud laughter around us join in a perfect harmony with the determined voices of students studying for the tests they have next period. 

Then when the bell rings each afternoon at 2:33, we rush out of the school and race each other to the parking lot, basking in the freedom of finally being able to drive on our own, with the windows down and the music blasting. 

I have done my best, but it is pretty difficult to capture into words how truly electrifying the spirit of North High’s spring season becomes each year. The front lawn turns into a microcosm of the entire school, with the seniors at the forefront, spending their last few months of high school doing their best to soak up every single moment.

We have used our final year here doing everything we could have to make it ours: earning as much wisdom as possible from our teachers, leading the underclassmen through varsity sports seasons, and carrying on all the traditions of previous senior classes — from winning Battle to celebrating one another on Commitment Day. 

What we have built this last year is a community — one that will continue to outlive us even after we leave the halls of North High.

But the truth is, senior year did not always feel this hopeful for all of us.

I know for me, the first week of the year was actually drowned out by my tears. After all, I felt a deep and overwhelming inclination to mourn… to mourn the official loss of junior year — the year I had stubbornly convinced myself was the best year I would get to experience for a long time. 

I had fallen in love with those moments of the past, determining that the new experiences ahead would never live up to the perfection of my junior year schedule. As a result, the first moments of this transition consisted of me fearing change — even fighting it.

But of course, the brutalities of the first week passed, and the rest of the year flew by.

From left to right, Rachel Tavazo, Nikita Soleymani, Sophie Frenkel, Brielle Nassi and Katharine Tang hanging out (Credit: Katharine Tang).
From left to right, Rebecca Bernstein, Nikita Soleymani, Sophie Frenkel, Brielle Nassi and Katharine Tang hanging out (Credit: Katharine Tang).

Looking back, it was during senior year that I had fully embraced Community School, where I grew my passion for literature, and where Edward, Hidasi, and all the other CSers helped me find a family within North High. Even outside of CS, I noticed myself transforming into a mentor to those around me. And through taking on a bigger leadership role in Guide Post, I began to discover my voice, my love for collaboration, and my appreciation for the unifying force of journalism. We have all explored different pieces of this community, and no matter where it may be, each of us here has found our own place.

Now our class is getting ready to graduate — getting ready to close this chapter of our lives to begin a completely new one. It is just beginning to register that these new chapters will lead us in separate directions.

Leaving my closest friends, my favorite library, and the eternal community that shaped me into who I am today — is something that sounds devastating. It seems daunting that in just two short months, I will be preparing to call the tiny town of Hanover, New Hampshire my new home. Yet, I can still feel right now, with full confidence, that it is more than possible.

Naturally, the first week of the next chapter, just like the first week of my senior year, may be uncomfortable — and it may even be filled with tears yearning for the familiarity of the North High community. But if I have learned anything from my own tears, it is that no matter how much we may feel attached to what we have right now, change is exciting. Change is opportunity. And change is growth — something we will all learn to cherish.

From left to right, Sophie Frenkel, Linda Li, Kaitlin Tam, Christine Zhou, Katharine Tang, Brielle Nassi, and Rachel Tavazo during graduation (Credit: Katharine Tang).
From left to right, Sophie Frenkel, Linda Li, Kaitlin Tam, Christine Zhou, Katharine Tang, Brielle Nassi, and Rebecca Bernstein during graduation (Credit: Katharine Tang).

As much gratitude as I have for our lawn seasons at North High, I look forward to making new connections as I nervously navigate the lawns of my college campus. Our lives have not even truly begun yet. And whatever our next steps may be, there is so much growth out there for each and every one of us to achieve.

I cannot wait to see what we all accomplish next. But for now, to the Class of 2023, it is time to celebrate all that we have accomplished already. Be proud. We have earned this.