BY CELESTE CARROLL–
With the end of the school, year comes the graduation of half the SHS student population from either their first year of high school or the school all together — while many freshman will exit the high school for the summer with three more years ahead of them, seniors will leave for the very last time, with their futures on the horizon.
Greta Maierle, freshman, and Ryan Beckwith, senior, two students who have experienced either one year or four years of high school, respectively, are two of these students; both are leaving for summer with thoughts of the future and reflections of their time at the high school this year on their minds. Maierle has three years of high school left to further experience, while Beckwith is nearing completion of his high school career.
Going into high school as a new freshman last fall, Maierle said that she first expected a classic stereotype within American high schools — the “freshman vs. senior” divide. However, Maierle said that after a year of high school, and participating in various sports and clubs, she learned that this was not the case.
“It was weird being in a bigger school after the middle school had only two grades. But it was better than expected,” Maierle said. “I thought high school would be much more segregated by grade almost — but I found that there’s a lot of sophomores, and even seniors in some of my classes, and it’s ok to talk to other people [in other grades.] I thought it would be the stereotypical ‘Oh, a freshman!’”
Beckwith, on the other hand, laughed as he said that his freshman year was so long ago in his mind that he hardly remembers it — but he can describe how he has grown as a person since he started school as a freshman, the grade Maierle is soon to complete.
“I think since freshman year I was kind of just a ‘stay to the sides of everything,’ [kind of person,] … I just kind of cared what people thought of me,” Beckwith said. “As high school went on, I just began to stop caring about that, and I don’t really care [about that] anymore. I mean, mostly just freshman year I worried about that. It was such a big change going through the middle school to high school.”
Beckwith credits much of this change to his joining of the mountain biking team at Shorewood, which started up as a group last school year.
“Last year, one of the biggest things [for me] was being a part of the mountain biking team,” Beckwith said. “It was the first year I did it and the first year [the club was started up,] and that was probably one of the biggest things in high school for me, one of my [biggest] achievements … It’s made me rethink mountain biking — it’s really a part of me now, it’s something I really like to do.”
Though Maierle has only experienced one year of high school while Beckwith four, Maierle says she has learned much about the benefits of getting involved here at the school.
“I think [the best thing you can do to get involved] is that you should join clubs that interest you, not what your friends are all doing, because you might find new friends that definitely have the same interests,” Maierle said. “But also, I thought that I was going to join every single club because that’s what I was told as an incoming freshman, but I’ve realized you also have to think about time management, because if you stretch yourself too thin you’ll be very stressed out, and not be successful in anything you’re doing.”
Both Maierle and Beckwith said that their advice for incoming freshman relates back to the idea of being yourself.
“This is kind of cliché, but I think it’s true — you just have to be yourself, because high school is kind of a fresh start,” Maierle said. “You can take [this fresh start] anywhere you want, and if you’re not happy with who you are hanging out with or how your life is going in middle school, that doesn’t determine your [time in] high school at all.”
Beckwith said he believes that if someone is interested in something as a teenager at SHS, they should take action.
“I actually was never a part of any clubs [here], so I never really did anything like that, but I think some advice would be if something sounds interesting to you, just do it — you only have four years here, you’re never going to be able to do it again in high school, so just do it,” Beckwith said.
While Maierle still has three more years of high school to go, she says she will miss the excitement that freshman year brought. After joining the cross country and track teams, as well as joining the costumes crew for the high school’s production of American Idiot, she says she has become even more of a happier person.
“I’m actually a little sad to leave [freshman year] behind,” Maierle said. “You get kind of emotionally attached without realizing it … everything is new freshman year, and so you don’t really have expectations — and I think going into next year, having that mindset, that you already know what to expect, it kind of won’t seem as exciting.”
Beckwith’s future is different from Maierle’s: after graduating in June, he plans to move to California, where he will attend community college. He says he will miss Shorewood — this year, he said he enjoyed graphic design as a class with Mr. Zimpel as well as becoming even more involved with the mountain bike team, and he said that as his senior year progressed, he started to think about college more and how senior year was going to impact his future, what he was going to do after senior year and where the rest of his life is headed. With a three-year age gap, both students will leave the school on June 9 having completed a crucial year of their high school career.
“You grow and change each year,” Maierle said. “I think it’ll be weird, because [I] won’t be the youngest [anymore] … there will be younger kids, and you just kind of keep moving up, and people leave, and you just have to deal with it.”
“I do think Shorewood [high school] is an accepting place … people don’t judge each other as much as I thought they might when I came here. It’s more of a united school,” Beckwith said. “I think I will miss Shorewood as a community. It’s been a cool place to be, but I’m excited for the future, and everything it has for me.”