Photo illustration by Brinda Ambal.
Ever since our grade was old enough to understand the concept of a play on words, the “2020 vision” jokes have not stopped. No matter what elementary or middle school you went to, we were all connected by one thing: our 2020 vision. Not once throughout our school careers could we have seen COVID-19 coming, and even though we may not have had that perfect vision like our parents told us, we can all certainly look back on our time at West and realize what it meant to us. From the Pathfinder’s senior class, we thank Parkway West for what it and it’s community has done for us in spite of all the uncertainty and commotion surrounding our final year of high school.
Sabrina Bohn, Managing Editor-in-Chief
If you know me at all, you know that I don’t really buy into the whole “high school experience.” I can count the number of football games I’ve been to on one hand, the most time I’ve spent at a school dance is 30 minutes, and my least favorite week of the year is spirit week. The thing is, Parkway West still gave so much to me, and these last four years have been so incredibly special.
Although I wasn’t the person yelling the loudest at pep rallies, I found people and places at school that I truly cared about. Teachers encouraged me to embrace knowledge and become more confident in my work and what I have to say. The clubs I was in gave me a chance to make a difference and find out what I’m truly passionate about. My friends gave me room to grow and change while also making everyday worth it. Parkway West allowed me to figure out who I am and who I want to be, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that opportunity.
Carly Anderson, Conceptual Editor-in-Chief
Whether it was watching our older siblings go through it or High School Musical showing us what senior year was supposed to look like, ending it from the couch is nothing like what I expected. I wouldn’t say that I’m disappointed because sleeping in and working when I want to definitely has its perks, but I am a little sad that after 13 years of hard work we don’t get to celebrate and reflect with our classmates like all the grades before us. Regardless, I am grateful for the four years I have had to grow and become someone I am proud of. I am so thankful to the teachers I’ve met along the way who supported me and pushed me to challenge myself and my ideas. We may not be laughing about it now, but someday, maybe in the distant future, we can look back and appreciate what a fitting ending this was for the Class of 2020.
Lydia Roseman, News and Sports Editor
The most important, perhaps the only, essential lesson you will learn in school is communication. It is more important than Algebra and history and Chemistry and Calculus. All things are insignificant until they can be shared. Power comes from words and your ability to place the right words together. In school, you learn to ask your peers for help on an assignment, email a teacher for an extension on a deadline, write an essay about your opinion on a topic. These inconsequential matters teach you to communicate when it becomes truly important. It’s my belief that you are not a student to learn facts and formulas, but to learn the skills you need to become a respected and contributing member of society. High school taught me to stand firm in what I think is right and what I know to be true. It taught me skills in work ethic, community, self-care and, most importantly, communication. These are essential qualities in all ventures. Treasure the process behind the emails you send and the essays you write because your opinions are valuable, but they are nothing without your confidence in sharing them.
Emma Caplinger, Arts and Entertainment Editor
I’d call myself a nostalgic person, especially when I have a lot of time to think. The current situation has given me more than enough time to reflect on the last four years, and as of late, I am constantly overwhelmed by nostalgia. Now that it is behind me, I can see high school for everything it gave me instead of all the stress it caused (which, let’s be honest, was a lot).
Over the last four years I have grown an inch, made new friends, written too many essays to count, played three sports, experienced huge successes and huge letdowns, explored just about every corner of school, gotten to know my teachers and grown into myself. The freshman who walked into school four years ago would see the senior I am now and be surprised; for this, I am so grateful.
It hurts to realize that I won’t spend my final moments as a high school student with the people who made me who I am, but we have bridged that gap with Zoom meetings and birthday parades. In light of so much pain, there is hope shining through everything we are still doing. I think that alone describes what kind of people we have become. To high school, thank you for everything.
Nayeon Ryu, Video Editor
My sister’s cat keeps stepping on my computer as I try to type this, just like quarantine did to our senior plans. Since being stuck in the house, I’ve had more than enough time to think. Usually, thinking is bad because I start freaking out about things in advance, but this time I’ve been thinking about the past–– about high school. It feels sad to categorize this as the past.
I feel like I spent so much of my high school years being stressed and crying about next Tuesday’s Calc exam or auditions for the All-State Orchestra two months away. For the first time, I wanted to let myself relax and really enjoy the last stretch of high school for the little time we had left. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I’m done feeling sorry for myself. If there’s anything you and I can get out of this wacko of a 2020: live life in the moment and enjoy what you have now instead of stressing about the future. Everything that is meant to happen will happen. Don’t undermine the importance of the present.
Ridwan Oyebamiji, Features Editor
Looking back at how I first got to high school, I still despise the transition of skipping a grade in the middle of the year just to ‘get ahead,’ but I cannot ignore the fact that it has taught me so many lessons, allowing me to gain unique experiences throughout my journey. I’m definitely the type of person to look at all my experiences with pessimism at first, but as my high school career comes to an end and we all have all the time in the world to reminisce, I find joy in reflecting over all the ups, and even the downs, that shape the person I am today.
I don’t think I would’ve said as a freshman that I would appreciate my high school experience, but it honestly taught me to never take anything for granted: new friends, long and tiring track and field practices and even the newfound time to learn to cook during quarantine. So instead of celebrating and rejoicing together as seniors have done in the past, we all can reflect from cover to cover on those who stood beside us even when the future looked bleak. I cannot state enough how appreciative I am for being a part of a community I know I’ll always be able to count on.
Susie Seidel, Convergence Media Editor
Did you know my grandpa was the principal of Parkway West? If you didn’t already know this, we probably haven’t met. Because of this, I’ve considered myself a Longhorn for as long as I can remember. As I ran around the stone ‘W’ at football games in elementary school or tied my bow for middle school cheer games, I awaited the day when I would actually be a student at Parkway West High School and embrace all of the friendship, opportunity and abundant learning that came with being one. As that day came, and as the next four years came and went, it was somewhere between taking my first honors class, writing for the school newspaper, trying new sports, losing a classmate, Powderpuff games, laughing with my second hour Calc class, experiencing different teachers, a senior season (though cut short) of spirit and witnessing firsthand the unity, growth and establishment of my classmates, that I truly felt like a Longhorn. So, even though Parkway West has been a part of my family for quite some time, one day, it became a part of me. Whether you’re a sophomore or 40 years old, on campus or stuck at home during quarantine, you will always be a Longhorn.Thank you for everything.
Parkway West means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and although this pandemic took away our last few weeks of senior year, the last four years will always stay with us.