To paraphrase the beginning of Rory Gilmore’s graduation speech in “Gilmore Girls,” I live in two worlds–one is the world of films.
I have ditched school with Ferris and his friends; fallen for a vampire and a werewolf in Forks, Washington; flown on the back of a nature spirit named Totoro; came of age in an area with a trash dump that can be seen from space and killed many masked murderers with boring names in various, generic suburbs.
I have seen it all. I have been it all.
It’s a world that has inspired my future career and gifted me with some true works of art. Nevertheless, my real world is superior.
Unlike a movie, I am in charge of this world. So, if I am the idiot in the horror movie who runs upstairs rather than out the front door, that’s my own fault.
Despite this, I have a bad habit of thinking that my life is a movie.
When I was in eighth grade, I chose the setting for this four-year movie: St. Charles North High School. Timid, little private school me picked the public school with a class 30 times what I am used to.
I’ll admit it was rough at first, but once I got my footing–200s are upstairs while the 100s are downstairs–I was comfortable. I soon formed friendships with people who were just as nervous as I was and relationships with teachers I still wave at to this day.
Towards the end of my freshman year, I remember getting off the bus with my neighbor and checking my phone to see an email from an unknown teacher. She said something about joining the newspaper club and that my English teacher recommended me for it.
I was at a loss of how I wanted to spend high school, so I figured: why not give it a try?
It was the best decision of my life.
In the meeting, I mentioned how the school would be adding phone caddies to classrooms the following year, and the Editor-in-Chief asked if I wanted to write that story. I said yes.
I must have blinked for a bit too long as I simply don’t know how that was three years ago.
The Stargazer taught me that my voice matters while also teaching me the importance of amplifying others’ voices. It taught me that writing can be more than a hobby and much, much more than some lame activity for class. It gave me confidence I didn’t know I had.
My favorite movie genre is coming of age. It depicts a young person, typically a high school student overcoming a particular barrier, be it internal or external. The most important part of these stories, in my opinion, is the characters: they are what make the movie memorable.
The Stargazer gave me an avenue to make some of the best friends and form relationships with the best teachers I could ask for.
This club gifted me the opportunity to meet people I would have no reason to talk with otherwise. In my humble and completely unbiased opinion, there is no better team bonding than struggling at midnight on WordPress or panic-writing a story the day-of alongside some of the best North has to offer.
The teacher who recommended me for the Stargazer was Mr. Wyllys, and the unknown teacher who emailed me was Mrs. Froemling, two people who have made an indescribable impact on my life. They have coached me on writing for the past three years and not even these honed skills can illustrate their immense and valuable influence on me.
North provided me a place to meet some of the most considerate, kind, hilarious, insightful and all-around wonderful people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling my friends.
My high school career is one of those movies where the so-called main character is far less interesting than the side characters’ and all of their idiosyncrasies. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Thank you for everything, St. Charles North. Thank you for letting me thrive. Thank you for employing such amazing people. Thank you for fostering a welcoming learning environment. Thank you for being the setting of the best movie I could have ever imagined.