Tag Archives: Student
By Andrea Freygang
Students from Blanche Ely and Pompano Beach High Schools participated in Student Government Day, an opportunity for students to learn the inner workings of city government.
By Sara Birriel
My final year of high school has come with more “lasts” than anticipated. Going into this school year, I was fully aware that it would be bittersweet. I was thrilled at the prospect of being done with secondary education for good, yet I knew I’d miss being around all of my friends once we went our separate ways in pursuit of post-secondary schooling. Therefore, I’ve tried to make a point of living each senior year experience to the fullest. Though at times this has been easier said than done, I have tried my best to keep in mind that these are meant to be the glory days.
Ironically enough, some of the most highly anticipated events of the school year are the vacation periods from school itself. Winter break is meant for making the most of time with family. The idea of sharing a lovely meal, exchanging gifts, and drinking eggnog with relatives is lovely. Yet, being around an eccentric aunt or a little cousin with excessive exuberance for an extended period of time can become wearing. As far as enjoyable school vacations go, spring break takes the cake. It’s a period of time where it is completely acceptable to do nothing more than exercise the teenage right to frivolity, while creating as many new memories (with friends) as possible. In fact, that is exactly what I was expecting to do during my final spring break before college. In hindsight, I should have foreseen that ultimately, not all experiences involving friends can be considered pleasant ones.
This vacation began innocently enough. I was looking forward to all of the obligatory teenage activities: partying, sunbathing, laughing, and cruising around at ungodly hours. Halfway through the week all of my expectations were well on their way to becoming fully actualized. I spent Friday through Tuesday with friends, avoiding all homework and being completely carefree. Soon enough, that carefree feeling was entirely drained from me in a short series of text messages. “Did you hear what happened to our friend?” said the first message from another close friend of mine. Following my first instinct, I inquired as to whether or not our friend was okay. However I soon regretted ever having asked after receiving the swift response of, “Not really… :/”
As a teenager well-versed in the subtleties of text message interpretation, I already knew what my friend was telling me. One wouldn’t think that two vague words accompanied by an ellipsis and an emoticon could carry such weight, but they carried quite a hefty weight, indeed–enough to sink my heart with the realization that my friend was no longer with us… at least not in the physical sense of the term. See, this final spring break as a high school student proved to be the final week that would see the remnants of my childhood innocence; it was the final week that would see my childhood friend alive and smiling.
While I would rather not delve too deep into the details of my friend’s death, I will divulge that he met an end tragic enough to make the local newspapers and television stations. While everyone grieves differently, I feel that as teenagers we are not fully equipped to cope healthily with the passing on of a peer. Until this point, we’ve been swarmed with delusions of immortality. Teenagers can’t die! We’re the all-knowing, death-proof beings of the world, are we not? While of course, this notion is completely outlandish, at this age it is easy to forget that we are just as vulnerable to fatal dangers as any other group of people. Yet we tend to behave recklessly and wander aimlessly.
The problem with disregarding the inevitability of death is that we end up forgetting that we do not have an infinite amount of time to achieve our dreams. This forgetfulness easily leads to taking life for granted. We do not say the things that we would like to. We fool ourselves into believing that we are guaranteed another day to tell our loved ones exactly how important of a role they play in our lives. Most importantly, we acquire regrets that could have been avoided by simply pausing to contemplate a decision for longer than thirty seconds. As teenagers, we are notorious for being too jaded to fully grasp the lasting effects of our actions, or lack thereof. Self-proclaimed procrastinator that I am, I cannot pretend that I seize each day for all that it can possibly be. I knew that my friend was headed down the wrong path, so to speak. Still, I didn’t make the effort to speak with him on the matter, because I consoled myself with the thought that he’d straighten himself out eventually. He had other friends who cared for him, so I simply expected them to take care of him someway, somehow. If I allow myself to do so, it is very easy to get caught up in the, “what ifs.” What if I had tried to talk some sense into him? What If I had made more of an effort to spend time with him? What if my own life could have affected the course of his, for the better? The list goes on… When I do fall into this train of thought, I must remind myself that there is no sense in dwelling on things that can never change. This tragedy can serve as an invaluable reminder of all that I can actually change. I can finally let go of the notion that forever exists. I have come to understand that all anyone ever has is the present moment, and this moment is the only one that will ever matter. A beloved teacher of mine once told me, “yesterday is the past and tomorrow never comes.”
The naïveté of teenage years leads us to believe, “that couldn’t possibly happen to me!” Yet, once death presents itself, it is something completely undeniable. Death is the the toothless beggar whose stench we turn away from, until our path is blocked by this entity -the insistent hand out- demanding payment of what you must certainly have– what you most certainly owe. What I’ve been forced to accept is this: there are only two options that I can select between. I can either choose to become consumed by the longing for someone that is no longer tangible or I can take into account all that is capable of being presently accomplished, and allow the loss of life to give me a renewed appreciation for life itself. Whilst I cannot say that the longing for my friend has ceased entirely (or ever will), I am conscious of the fact that the only way to go about honoring his life is to choose the latter.