Opinions: From the desk: One more plaque


Sarah Myers

Jake Smith, senior class vice president, ripped the trophy out of someone’s hands to give him and me the moment of triumph we’ve been yearning for since freshman year at the end of the Pep Assembly, Sept. 30.

“In second place with 155 points, the Juniors!”

These eight words filled me with joy as I sprinted out with my peers to hoist the historic trophy over the crowd of storming people. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning opening a present I’ve wanted for years.

As senior class president, I considered myself the unofficial Spirit Week team captain for my grade. I started scheduling meetings back in July once or twice a week trying to get my peers that coveted moment of victory. Since then, I’ve logged at least 20 hours solely working on the class wall.

The plaques on the side date back all the way to 1994. My mom hadn’t even graduated from college in 1994. Every year has the word “SENIORS” on it– except for one. If we lost the same year as I became the president, I would be blamed, or at least I would’ve blamed myself.

Even if I would’ve done everything I could to help us win, my mind would’ve still found reasons why the loss was my fault.

For the longest time, I thought I was doing it for me.

Mrs. Ellen Garner, my history teacher last year, is one of my biggest fans, but she’s also one of my biggest critics. On multiple occasions throughout my campaign, she questioned me and picked me apart for not having a plan on how to do the Class Wall.

My egocentric mind was so concerned with proving her wrong that I forgot about actually helping people.

My mindset changed when I saw how others looked at the wall. When people stared at the countless lanterns floating up to the sky amidst a beautiful sunset, they couldn’t help but smile.

I realized what I had been working for all this time, and it wasn’t a trophy.

I couldn’t walk five steps without someone stopping me to celebrate, so I wasn’t able to stop by senior class vice president Jake Smith’s house to celebrate with his family until around 4 p.m. I already had a permanent grin on my face, but I took even more enjoyment in talking to him.

It was his 18th birthday, and there was only one gift he wanted to receive. I was able to give that to him.

We sat together and watched Snapchat stories from all of our fellow seniors. Students I’ve been friends with since I was a child yelled, cried, laughed and took pride in identifying as members of the Class of 2017.

I take great pride in that I was able to fulfill their expectations and make their moment possible.

There were so many people that contributed to our win: Young-Seo Youn, Maddie Rose Ortinau, Andra Staicu, Kelsey Rolofson, Zoe Rich, and Steven Valeriote are just to name a few. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me and the rest of my grade. What we accomplished together goes beyond words.

We were able to have a truly positive impact on our fellow students.

That’s why I ran for office– to benefit the senior class. Frankly, it wasn’t the most fun time working over the summer, staying after school and spending long nights painting and taping. It was tedious and tiring, but it was worth it when I saw how happy my effort made everyone else.

The trophy itself wasn’t worth that level of dedication. Currently, it’s sitting at my desk while I’m writing this.

One of the eagle wings is broken off, the purple on the columns is faded and there are chips all over the wood.

But I didn’t hand out newspapers on Geriatric v Toddler day so I could hold the trophy. I did it so I could make my friends happy.

The end of the Pep Assembly could easily go down as my favorite high school moment. Not much is going to be able to top that. Other than graduation, this is probably the most united our class will ever be.

We won more than just one more plaque. We won the memory. We won the experience.

Next year the trophy will read “2016 SENIORS” Students in the future may overlook that one small piece of metal, but to me, it will always be symbolic of so much more.