Tonight, roughly 200 girls dressed in white dresses will process down the steps of a beautiful...ice arena...carrying a rose, quietly reminding themselves not to fall. They will sit in alphabetical order, listening to speeches from their classmates and teachers. Row by row, they will line up, waiting for their name to be called. When it is, they will walk across the stage as their senior quote is read, shake hands with Mrs. Witte, and receive their diploma. These girls... are Mercy girls.
Four years ago, I was one of them. I sat through the entire ceremony playing with my hands and worrying about falling or that the reader would mess up my quote, which I had taken way too much time to pick out. I wanted it to be perfect. Most of my classmates were ecstatic that our day to graduate had finally come, while I was wishing time would stop, and I could stay a senior in high school forever. I was perfectly content with staying in those halls of Mercy, having the time of my life with the most amazing group of people. I didn't understand why I had to go away to college.
I really believe that there is no other high school like Mercy. I mean besides the fact that our dean rode a motorized, yellow scooter or that our principal was willingly duct taped to a wall. It was more than that, it was the feeling that school gave. I walked in every day with a smile on my face, excited to greet my friends at "our" table, and walk around the halls chatting with teachers on my way to first hour. I loved the feeling of support and compassion that was so easily felt. At Mercy, we were truly taught that women can..and will...make a difference. Women held positions in student council, theatre, academic groups, women were the star athletes.
I still thank Mr. Schusterbaur, Mrs. Rozman, Mdme Campbell, Mrs. Kowalski, and many many more for being some of the best teachers I've ever had, including my professor's in college. I still keep in contact with my advisor (the BEST, in my opinion), and the woman who made me strong in my faith, Mrs. MacLennan. I will remember their names and the impact they had on me forever.
It's hard to believe that four years ago, I left my senior all night party bawling so hard I couldn't breathe. Most people thought that it was because I would miss Mercy so much...which is partly true (my love for Mercy was well known, I was named 'Most Likely to Work at Mercy'). Another reason is because I knew, no matter what anyone else said, that college wouldn't be the same, that my friends and I would not stay in contact. It turns out I was right, so go me.
I tried to think about how much I've changed since then...but honestly, I really haven't changed much. I mean yes, I have learned a lot and grown stronger as a person, been through more life experiences. If anything, though I've kind of "come back" to the person I was then. In college, I don't feel like I was really me. I think I just know more now. There's people I know from high school who are not the person they once were, where as I feel I have really held on to the things that make me "me". Does that make sense?