Fond Farewell From the Class of 2017

Sidney Richardson

Dear Student Body,
It’s all coming to a close, the high school experience is just about over for the Class of 2017. It’s time to say goodbye to your adolescence and what little innocence you have left as you continue your journey past high school. We must leave the shelter of the walls of Loy Norrix and fend for ourselves in the real world.
There are a few different approaches as the year comes to a close. There are those who are scrambling to hold on to what they’ve built in the last four years, the ones who are cherishing every last moment and then there are those who just can’t wait to escape. For me, it just depends on the day.
High school, often fondly referred to as “The Best Four Years of Your Life” by our parents, is definitely a memorable experience. Each individual’s story is unique, yet in essence, the same.
There are so many opportunities that you can either take advantage of or look back later and regret that you didn’t. There are so many different people that you get to meet in this brief window of your life, many of which will sadly fall to the wayside after graduation. But many of us will maintain a few strong bonds that we’ve built over the past few years. Bonds that are often stronger than the bonds we share with our own family members.
One of the most important effects high school has on youth is the ways it provides an environment in which we find ourselves and figure out who we are. We try a variety of things and realize what we are interested in and what we can and can’t do in life. We may be in school to learn about things like math, English or how to fill in the right bubble on a scantron, things that heavily impact the rest of our life, but we are also left with a rash of life lessons taught to us by the tough experiences of adolescence. High school definitely impacted and changed the way we think about things.
“I guess it’s changed my views and perspectives of how I look at people. I look at them more as an individual than their class rank or social status,” said senior Mark Peterson.
There are lessons and experiences that we’ve all felt; the loss of a friend through death or just growing apart, the seemingly end-of-the-world feeling after a bad break up, or the disappointment of failure in an extracurricular competition. To sum it all up, we learn from our failures, and those lessons are invaluable in life. The reality is that in life, you can’t always succeed, there will be roadblocks and trouble.
“Yeah it’s been difficult because I’ve had to put my academics first and it made me grow up more and do things for myself more and not for my friends, and your close friends are the ones who are understanding of that so it weeds out the rest,” said senior Reace Hammel.
The transformation that we have all gone through over the past four years is fascinating to say the least and the prioritization of things during that period greatly aided in that. Just take a moment and look back at who you were when you first entered this school just a few short years ago. What kind of music did you like? Who did you hang out with? What did you do in your free time? There’s a great chance that those answers are far different now than what they were then. I would be surprised if they weren’t. It’s quite obvious that we’ve all grown and matured physically, but the change isn’t simply skin deep.
Look at what we have ahead of us, we have had the great fortune that is the Kalamazoo Promise bestowed upon us. Our journey doesn’t have to end here, and it shouldn’t end here. We just made it through what feels like the toughest stress ridden years of our brief lives. At this point, I feel like I am ready to move on to the next chapter.
Not only has the school left an impression on all of us, but we’ve left our mark as well. We were often in the shadow of Kalamazoo Central and their recent visit from President Obama in 2010. But now look at us, our test scores and AP proficiency ratings have been trending upwards every single year that we have been here. Loy Norrix is now ranking in the top 50 schools in Michigan according to “US News”. Now as seniors, we are setting the tone for the future.
Also in sports, we have seen a positive trend in success, with teams doing things that haven’t been done here in recent memory. Led by senior stars like Morgan Kenbeek and Tony Dougherty, the swimming team made waves with their first ever conference victory. The past two years, the track team made history with their first ever combined men’s and women’s titles at the Don Lukens Invitational. The team is led by Class of 2017 leaders like team MVPs Gabe Runyon and Sheridan Britney, do-it-all talent Ryan Ross and prospective state champion vaulter Evan Wheat. In the realm of hockey, the Kalamazoo United team, comprised of Loy Norrix, Kalamazoo Central and Hackett, won their own conference championship under the leadership of Loy Norrix’s own seniors Noel Cavey and Jacob Remelius.
So as a senior, all I have to say is thank you Loy Norrix, for helping me become who I am today. This school has impacted us all and, evidently, we have left our mark as well. This time has really meant a lot.
So long,
From the Class of 2017