An open letter to the senior class


Red and White Staff

The seniors spend the day at Bald Eagle State Park for their Senior Picnic.

Emma Homan, Feature News Director

It’s been a long and arduous 13 years together, hasn’t it? Much can be said about the Class of 2023. From the worst behaved class the middle school had ever seen, to the final COVID class, it’s been quite a run. From field days to skip days, Keystones to SATs, each and every one of us has gone from a snot-nosed little kid to a full-grown adult. It’s rather scary to think about, but soon we’ll all part ways, and whether to you that’s an absolute relief or something so heartbreaking a tear forms in your eye as you read this letter, I say it’s time to recollect. We’ve earned it.

We all joined together in 2016, fresh from our teeny-tiny elementary schools (unless you went to Bellefonte, and in that case, just skip that part), and into a whole new world of period-based classes. I’m sure each of us remembers a moment when a poor, poor middle school teacher with their head in their hands proclaimed, “you all are the worst behaved class I’ve ever had.” Ah. How far we’ve come.

When the power went out, we spent our time huddled in poorly lit classrooms begging for the generators to stay off just a little longer so we could go home. When we had a connection straight into outer space during the BAMS “In Space” event, sure, it was a little disappointing, but there we all were, little 12 year olds in matching T-shirts staring at the ceiling of the auditorium like we could see the stars, too.

And then we were freshmen, taking on the first of the (allegedly) four best years of our lives. What a strange almost-lie that turned out to be. When the world ended, we adapted. For the next three years, we’d win three consecutive homecoming parade competitions and sell thousands of donuts. We saw New York City, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, and countless other locales on field trips across the state and beyond. We performed two plays and two musicals, showed off our talents, and hit PRs. Despite the pandemic, we persisted. And now, just a few more days until we walk that stage, it’s a little surreal to look all the way back.

I couldn’t possibly begin to thank everyone involved in our successes, and I wouldn’t dare to begin. We could thank our teachers, or our parents, or our friends, but I think the most important person to thank is yourself. Even if you got help, as I’m sure all of us did, it is you who made it this far. It is you sitting now, reading this letter knowing in just a few days you’ll be looking back on the stadium, diploma in hand, knowing that you’ll never need to come back. Maybe it’s cheesy, but thank yourself first and foremost. 

Go on. Take your right hand, bring it over your left shoulder, and give yourself a nice pat on the back. Maybe do it again after you go through Mr. Fitzgerald’s graduation wringer and you’re sitting on that lawn donned in red gowns. We all know that’s far more challenging than all 13 years combined, and you’ll have especially earned it then.

And if things get hard, and they will, years in the future, think back on that little twelve year old you straining to hear a voice sent straight from the stars through a staticy speaker.

Never, ever, stop straining for the stars.