Dear High School,
This is an open letter to you as I near graduation in five short months.
Because those months will not compare to almost four years of smiles, essays, and all the memories in between.
Nothing will compare to the lessons you have taught me with your rough, but ever-so-gentle hands.
The year of heavy eyeliner and a heavy heart.
The year of a new state and a new state of mind.
While Ohio's weather was dreary and grey, you gave me a bright home with new faces to match.
You taught me that change is not always bad.
You taught me that sometimes you need the bland weather only to stand out so much more.
The year of turquoise eyes and a wicked sneer.
The year of taking risks
I found puppy love in biology while learning about inherited traits,
And maybe it is a trait for mindless sophomores to chase after boys.
But with this, you taught me to take risks.
You taught me to be vulnerable and to put myself out there, even when my heart is screaming otherwise.
The year of heartbreak and many, many tears.
The year of self-love and identity.
Much like most everything, that love came to an end.
I found comfort in your walls, shoving my nose in books rather than tear-soaked tissues.
I found myself in red lockers, in English essays, in my teacher's advice to me.
I focused more on you, and with every new achievement, I loved myself more.
You taught me that education will always be more important than any casual fling.
You taught me that I can create my own identity.
The year of unconditional strength.
The year that everyone says will come and go in the blink of an eye (and believe me when I say it does).
The home you have built me is crumbling slowly as each day passes, as I build a new home much stronger than you.
The red lockers are fading and the memories are turning a shade of grey.
This year has been the year of hardships, rumors, and stress.
But you have taught me to keep my head held high.
You have taught me that this doesn't last forever.
As I think back on the day I spilled school milk all over myself,
Or the day my brother made homecoming court,
Or even the day(s) I spent crying in the bathrooms,
I want to thank you for all the opportunities you have given me,
All the people I have met through you,
And all that you have prepared me with.
Without you, I wouldn't be who I am today.
Harley McKinney, a Senior not quite ready to graduate.