Enjoy the following piece, entitled "Ben Tan Says Goodbye", my last for Spin...sniff.
I only vaguely remember my first day of high school. The orientation made a huge deal about how different things would be, yet I kept seeing the familiar faces, kept studying the five major subjects. In my mind, not much had changed. I met many people, some of which I did not like, but I was not alone. Every freshman gets picked on, and no matter what kind of people surround you, there will be those who give you bad vibes. However, over these four years, I have met my dearest friends. Those people made these four years worthwhile.
Have you heard that song that goes “Make new friends, but keep the old”? I have never heard better advice. Take advantage of all the extracurricular activities here, you will meet your best friends, the people you admire, the people who define you. I admire those who get picked on, but brush it off. I admire those who do not care how messy my hair is – a few even think it looks nice, believe it or not. Oh, how tacky I looked my first two years, back when I combed my hair obsessively…but I digress, as I often do in my writing. Hopefully, the people you admire, whoever they are, will give you as many fond high school memories as I have had.
You will meet many admirable teachers as well, people who love their subject and get you to love it, too. Mr. D’Agnese taught my class how to love history, Mrs. McDonough books, Mr. Binaghi the Spanish language. Wakefield High School may not have as much money as other schools in the area, but it has what a school truly needs to be great – quality teachers. However, the many fellow students I befriended made the four years even more enjoyable. Sometimes, I found myself learning as much from a friend as I did from a teacher. I learned more about music from being in a band with talented folks like Chris Morrill, Brian Hickey, and Liz Sullivan, than from any of my music teachers. I hung with people I admire – people who resist the pressure to conform to petty “norms” – people like William Knapp and Noah Rodman. Everyone gets picked on for some reason, and it is up to the “victim” to brush it off and move on, instead of giving in. I thank Shannon Leahy for that lesson.
Surely, when I look back on these four years, I will remember those people most fondly – the admirable people whom I will miss seeing every day. I hope to keep in touch. However, the time for change has come. For four years, I have used the same locker, number 1960. For four years, I have walked the same ten-minute walk home. For four years, I have written for Spin. Though I have immensely enjoyed these last four years, I need the change that comes with graduation.
Thankfully, my time here at Wakefield High School has prepared me for such change. In this school I have changed, grown, learned, and found a voice. The Ben Tan of freshman year seems like a different person. What started as a hobby, writing for the school paper, became a career aspiration. The quiet freshman disappeared, replaced by a loudmouth senior. That senior will attend Emerson College in the fall, concentrating on journalism. That senior will leave behind the life he lived for four years, a life he will remember fondly. He will start a new, very different life. However, one cannot go forward while looking backward. I can only picture the past in my head as I march onward to the next chapter of my story.