2016 senior column: Leaving a mark: Mary Kay Gagnepain


Mary Kay Gagnepain leaves her mark on the wall outside the EHS-hub, May 12.

I didn’t find myself in high school.

I don’t know who I am, but I know who I want to be.

I can’t tell you what my style is. I can’t tell you my political views. I couldn’t even tell you how I see my future going.

But I know I’ll be okay.

I have hope.

As a sophomore, I walked around school with crop tops, high waisted shorts and Vans. People would come up to me and tell me, “You’re so hipster.”

On the day before hipster vs. prepster day for Spirit Week, someone asked me how to be a hipster.

I liked it, though. All the hipsters claimed they weren’t hipsters even though they were draped in Urban Outfitters and Earthbound clothing–they were totally hipsters. Only real hipsters think they are not hipsters.

Well, I was a fake hipster.

I wanted to be labeled as something. I wanted to feel like I belonged. I wanted to know who I was.

It wasn’t until junior year that I actually realized the truth… I wasn’t a hipster.

I can remember thinking in the morning about my outfit and dreading putting on those tight, uncomfortable, squeeze-me-in-all-the-wrong-places high waisted shorts.

I wanted to wear sport shorts or leggings. I wanted to wear an oversized spirit jersey.

But a hipster would never wear those things… or so I thought.

I felt like I was losing a part of myself. That may sound crazy, but it’s true.

In my mind, I was losing who I was.

In the end, I wore the sport shorts and spirit jerseys because they were comfortable, and I was a tired and lazy teenager.

And the craziest thing happened: nobody cared. Not one person.

Over time, I learned that just because I don’t identify with a specific group does not mean I don’t belong.

I am not a hipster. I am not a prepster. I am me.

I belong because I am me.

I can wear whatever I want.

But what I wear isn’t the point. How others see me isn’t the point.

I realize now that the point of high school was not to find myself.

The point was to taste a bit of what could be.

I stood up in front of my peers every day in room 704 and coaxed, teased, and harassed my staff into doing, into producing, into being something more than a group of individuals.

The EHS-hub completely and utterly changed my life.

Besides learning how to not overuse commas and how to write in active voice, I learned how to be a leader.

I learned how to be me.

I learned that I am not only blue, but I am green and orange (personality profile categories).

I learned that I love writing, and I love guiding people.

I learned that I have so much to learn.

I evolved.

I belonged.

With the hub being a major part of how I identify myself, I see myself belonging in the journalistic world. How I fit in, I don’t know. And like high school, maybe I won’t fit in a specific place.

The EHS-hub taught me that I am more than just one thing. I am multiple things. I fit in more than one place.

Room 704 is a hub (pun intended) of many different people with different talents. It brings people like the out-going Prom Queen and the shy, introverted, goofy guy together to form friendships that will last longer than our time at EHS.

I first entered room 704 in Vans, but now I’m leaving in Birkenstocks.

I went into high school thinking I had to be one thing. I am leaving, knowing the exact opposite.

With every taste, I discovered a new and exciting side to myself.

I was lucky enough to experience everything high school has to offer. From freshman basketball tryouts to etc… to the EHS-hub to Prom Committee. I did it all. I tasted it all.

I can’t tell you how I see my future, but I know where I want it to go.

I can’t tell you who I am, but I know who I want to be.

And honestly, that is enough for me.

**Editor’s (last) note

Thank you EHS, for everything. I truly loved every moment at EHS, and I am grateful for every second. Thank you to every teacher, hall monitor, administrator, and student that made my time here memorable. 

Thank you Mrs. Elisha Strecker for opening doors I didn’t know existed and for being more than an advisor but a friend (in a completely appropriate way).

Thank you to my incredible staff for always working to produce and for putting up with my crazy self. 

So, today is my last official day of high school.

I will leave this place knowing that I have so much to learn, and I have a bright future ahead of me.